Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

One green succumbs to another

with 63 comments

Green Lynx Spider with Killed Bee on Goldenrod Flowers 7796

Remember the metallic green sweat bee that I photographed on my hand in Arkansas three months ago? On September 1st at Southeast Metropolitan Park I found a similar bee that had fallen prey to a green lynx spider, Peucetia viridans. The yellow of some goldenrod (Solidago spp.) that was already flowering added to the colorful if ghastly scene. In fact it was the goldenrod flowers that I’d stopped to photograph, and then when I got close I discovered the spider and bee on them.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 7, 2016 at 5:02 AM

63 Responses

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  1. All part of nature’s great pageant, although I’m doubtful the sweat bee participant enjoyed the outcome.

    Steve Gingold

    September 7, 2016 at 5:31 AM

  2. The detail is astounding: the spots, the hairs, the color of the bee. I tried and tried to capture a tiny spider last weekend, but between the web blowing in the wind and the spider running around, it wasn’t such a satisfactory outcome. I suspect that the addition of a tasty morsel would at least have slowed the spider a bit.

    I like the tiny, art-nouveau-ish decoration on the spider’s head. And I like the goldenrod, too. I still haven’t found it blooming anywhere, even in places where it was abundant in past years. Now that I think of it, I haven’t seen Maximilian sunflowers or blue mistflower, either. Maybe they’re late, or maybe I’m over-eager.


    September 7, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    • I just sat down with a second cuppa and my copy of the NPSOT newsletter, and discovered you provided far more than cover photos. It’s a great article, with more photos that make me eager for fall. I did find some inland sea oats on Labor Day, and it had that nice mix of colors you mentioned.


      September 7, 2016 at 6:40 AM

    • This link will take interested people to your article: pages 8 and 9 of the Native Plant Society of Texas newsletter.


      September 7, 2016 at 6:44 AM

      • Thanks, Linda. A television show from the 1950s spoke of the Hostess with the Mostess. It occurs to me to dub you the Promoter with the Motor. Or how about the Promota with the Totota? As always, I appreciate your appreciation for my work.

        Steve Schwartzman

        September 7, 2016 at 8:34 AM

        • Now, if only I could find a way to convince a couple of publishers to cough up book contracts and fat advances. That would be even better. 🙂


          September 8, 2016 at 5:31 AM

          • Maybe in another life. I guess that’s what ghost writers are. (Speaking of ghosts, the television show from the ’50s was Topper, where Marion Kirby was described as the Ghostess with the Mostest.)

            Steve Schwartzman

            September 8, 2016 at 7:11 AM

    • Now that you’ve got a good macro lens, it’s only a matter of time till you capture details like these. I’ve also had my share of trouble with webs moving, but fortunately the wind doesn’t always blow and subjects aren’t always skittish. I followed the spider with my lens close to it, and in the end it dropped the bee, perhaps hoping that that’s what I was after. I did go away after that, though not for that reason, of course.

      There’s one lone goldenrod plant on Morado Circle in my neighborhood that mysteriously bloomed early this year, then in the summer, and is at it again now. Actually I’m not sure I’ve seen the same plant each time, but the out-of-season flowering was real.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 8:41 AM

    • I’ve noticed the general lack of Maximilian sunflowers here too. With your comment in mind, earlier today I drove past a place I know in Pflugerville that had a lot of Maximilian sunflowers a few years ago but then lost most of them to mowing. I did find a few that were flowering, the first I’d seen this season. On the way home I stopped at another place where I’d photographed Maximilian sunflowers last fall but didn’t find any flowering yet this time. I wonder if the rain of a few weeks ago has perversely slowed them down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 11:24 PM

      • I thought about the rain as a possibility, too. But just now, I remembered one of the Maximilian’s other names — Michaelmas daisy — and found that the Feast of St. Michael is September 29. When I went over to Wildflowers.org and checked on the bloom time there, it said September, October, and November. Perhaps the flowers know precisely what they’re doing, and I’m the one who’s over-eager for fall flowering!


        September 8, 2016 at 5:26 AM

        • While it’s true that September and October and even early November are the months in which I’ve seen the most Maximilian sunflowers, I usually begin seeing at least a few as August wears on. That didn’t happen this year. Maybe there were some and I didn’t happen to come across them.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 8, 2016 at 7:07 AM

  3. Flowers always enhance the enjoyment of a meal!


    September 7, 2016 at 6:29 AM

    • That’s a pleasant floral thought. It may be true for the diner, but the flowers are funereal for the dined-upon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 1:20 PM

      • Flowers usually enhance a funeral, too. Let’s hope the victim was stunned/dead and unaware of its fate.


        September 7, 2016 at 5:35 PM

        • I’ve wondered about the state of awareness of the bee in its final moments. Some demises in the animal kingdom are gruesome.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 7, 2016 at 7:06 PM

  4. I once had a green lynx spider on my lantana. Fascinating creature.


    September 7, 2016 at 6:56 AM

    • They’re fairly common in the Austin area and I’m always glad to see them because they make for photogenic subjects.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 1:21 PM

      • And their webs are really interesting. Thanks for sharing!


        September 7, 2016 at 2:17 PM

        • Now that you mention it, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the web of a green lynx. I think I’ve always encountered these spiders hunting on flowers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 7, 2016 at 2:46 PM

  5. Love it.

    Sherry Felix

    September 7, 2016 at 7:29 AM

  6. Wonderful macro. Don’t you just love the bonus bugs on flower shots?


    September 7, 2016 at 7:41 AM

  7. Spectacular! I, too, tried to capture a spider in the center of a very clever web. It was too difficult to get clarity all around. Amazing shot!


    September 7, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    • Don’t feel bad. All photographers struggle to get clarity in macro shots. Often it’s a trade-off. I managed to get good focus on the main parts of the spider but couldn’t at the same time make the spider’s leg to the right of the bee sharp. We sacrifice what’s less important for the sake of what’s more important.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 2:41 PM

  8. I have never seen such a spiny spider! In college we were taught that energy flows through an ecosystem. Then somebody, having thought that over, said, “It doesn’t flow. It goes through, kicking and screaming!”


    September 7, 2016 at 9:41 AM

    • Now there’s a euphonious phrase: spiny spider.
      That’s also a good anecdote about the flow, or lack thereof, of energy. I wish I could flow more freely through nature, but there are always things that grab on and slow me down.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 7, 2016 at 2:44 PM

  9. AWESOME!!!!

    Sarah Longes - Mirador Design

    September 7, 2016 at 4:01 PM

  10. Absolutely stunning…Don’t we have the most amazing neighbors.

    Charlie@Seattle Trekker

    September 7, 2016 at 4:36 PM

  11. Such a beautiful shot! Nice photo ♥


    Summer Daisy

    September 7, 2016 at 4:41 PM

  12. The lynx spider is very, very high on my wish list. I’ve never yet been able to find one. This is really magnificent, Steve. What a great bit of luck and what a fine job you’ve done with the opportunity!


    September 8, 2016 at 3:02 PM

    • Thanks to the two-tone green and the closeness, this is the most impressive encounter I’ve had with a green lynx holding its prey. In searching my archive I see that this kind of spider is adept at catching bees. In 1999 I photographed a green lynx holding a dark bee on eryngo; in 2000 one holding a honeybee on some tree leaves; in 2011 one holding a honeybee on a jimsonweed flower; in 2015 one holding some sort of bee on goldenrod flowers, and on a different day one holding a bee on a sunflower leaf. More often I’ve photographed a green lynx with no prey, but in every case where there’s been prey, it’s been a bee. I never realized that till now.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 8, 2016 at 3:51 PM

  13. Nice photo .. If not a sad outcome for the bee


    September 9, 2016 at 1:55 PM

  14. Too close for me!! 🙂


    September 12, 2016 at 12:39 PM

  15. […] been able to confirm from the recent pictures of snow-on-the-prairie and snow-on-the-mountain and goldenrod, central Texas has gone into full fall botanical mode, even if afternoon high temperatures are […]

  16. How clever you are. Those spines are poking out of my laptop screen. I know I probably shouldn’t, but I do get a macabre pleasure out of watching spiders catch prey, and I find their bodies attractive to look at. Close-up, there is so much detail to enjoy. They are often beautifully patterned and the hair looks so soft. We do have some highly venomous species here, but I can’t help being a fan of them. Fantastic shot, Steve.


    September 17, 2016 at 1:55 AM

    • Yeah, I made those spines poke out as an incentive for people to spend less time in front of their computer screens. Now if I could only make scorpions come out of the screens of the phones in the hands of all those young people driving distractedly down the road….

      You may have noticed from a linked article a few comments before yours that women are on average four times as likely as men to fear spiders. Your appreciation of this spider shows you’re obviously not in that fearful female group. Just the opposite, given your “macabre pleasure out of watching spiders catch prey” and the fact that you “find their bodies attractive to look at.” The venomous spiders I’ve heard about in Australia might give me pause, though.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2016 at 9:23 AM

  17. The Green Lynx is one of my favorite spiders! Great capture!


    September 17, 2016 at 4:14 PM

    • Thanks. It’s one of my favorites too, so I’m glad to hear you have them up there in Oklahoma as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2016 at 4:16 PM

  18. Wow! Fearsome! And great shot

    Robert Parker

    February 2, 2018 at 10:36 AM

  19. I call this perfection! I’m sorry I missed this one the first time around.


    February 10, 2018 at 5:03 PM

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