Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Ambushed bushy bluestem

with 30 comments

On November 15th, while wandering through the field in Manor adorned with myriad fluffy seed heads of bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus) and goldenrod (Solidago sp.) that you saw in a post last month, I spied something that looked unusual and that I couldn’t initially identify. After I got closer I could tell that a plant had gotten wrapped up, presumably by a spider, but in a way I hadn’t seen before. Then I noticed the green lynx spider (Peucetia viridans) that must have done the deed. Eventually I realized that what the spider had wrapped up into a nest was a bushy bluestem seed head. Notice the spiderlings, of which there were plenty more than shown in this picture. You get a closer view of the green lynx in the following picture:

As relevant quotations for today, you can listen to Rudy Francisco reading his poem “Mercy,
which he indicates is after Nikki Giovanni’s “Allowables.”

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 22, 2020 at 4:22 AM

30 Responses

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  1. She is a beauty

    MichaelStephenWills

    December 22, 2020 at 5:34 AM

  2. The green lynx spider is one of my favorites. You’ve managed a wonderful capture of mom and babies! I’m truly impressed with both images. I’ve never seen such a production of drag lines (instead of a web) on a plant. She has created quite a nursery for her babies, which allows her to move quickly to protect them. Did you happen to notice where the initial egg sac was located?

    Littlesundog

    December 22, 2020 at 6:29 AM

    • I’m fond of green lynxes, too, for the color that they bring to portraits of them. An online article says that the lynx part of the name comes from the spider’s hunting prowess. In contrast, these pictures with all the spiderlings show off the spider’s maternal side. I didn’t see the location of the egg sac, caught up as I was in trying to take good pictures. I didn’t even realize till now that the spiderlings don’t show any traces of the green that makes the adults stand out so much.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 6:49 AM

  3. I’ve never thought of spiders having ‘good’ years and ‘bad’ years, like acorns or deer, but I certainly have seen more green lynx spiders this year than ever before. I’ve seen some egg cases, but never the spiderlings, so this is a real treat. It occurs to me that bushy bluestem may be home to a multitude of unseen creatures. With multiple stems and so much fluff, it would make a nice, secure home.

    shoreacres

    December 22, 2020 at 7:11 AM

    • I think you’re right that spiders and insects have good years and bad years, just like wildflowers. I can’t say I’ve seen more green lynxes than usual over here this year; I always see some. Spiderlings are a different matter, though, and this may be the first time (or the first in a long time) that I’ve seen any, much less a multitude of them. You seem to be right, too, that all the fluff produced by bushy bluestem provides plenty of shelter for tiny creatures. Now that I think about it, I don’t believe I’ve seen many insects or spiders even on the outside of a bushy bluestem seed head.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 10:53 AM

  4. We discover little critters on the pictures we have taken that we did not expect to find. We go out to shoot a beautiful picture and receive a bonus. Photography is the tool that helps us discover the wonderful world of the very small as it happened to you on this bright November day, Steve.

    Peter Klopp

    December 22, 2020 at 8:23 AM

    • When I went out that day in November to document the field full of bushy bluestem and goldenrod that had turned fluffy, I was thinking on a large scale, using mostly a wide-angle lens. Near the end of my session I came upon the spider-wrapped bushy bluestem. Then the scale of things changed, and on went the macro lens. It’s the one that overall I use the most often, though I didn’t expect to that day.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 11:02 AM

  5. What a beautiful little spider, and all her darling little spiderlings! I don’t believe I’ve seen a spider like this before.

    melissabluefineart

    December 22, 2020 at 8:53 AM

    • Green lynxes are pretty common here, but I understand how the color and patterns would make an impression on someone not familiar with this kind of spider.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 11:07 AM

  6. Never seen this spider before, I think he doesn’t live in our country. A very beautiful spider and a great worker it is.

    picpholio

    December 22, 2020 at 11:34 AM

  7. Oh how I enjoyed these photos, Steve. When I got to the second photo I gasped — all those spiderlings! Thanks for this beautiful in-depth look into nature.

    Jet Eliot

    December 22, 2020 at 11:44 AM

    • You’re welcome. I’m not sure I’d ever seen so many spiderlings, though they were moving around and hard to photograph in their own right. I don’t know if this was a more than usually prolific green lynx mother. In any case, it was a great find.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 12:59 PM

  8. Great photos. I think the green lynx spiders are so lovely. That one is well-camouflaged, it takes a keen eye to see it and that’s really true of the spiderlings.

    Tina

    December 22, 2020 at 2:54 PM

    • Merci. I agree with you about the appeal of green lynxes. While I might not have seen this one, camouflaged as it was, the wrapped bushy bluestem was so unusual that it got my attention from a good distance away and I walked over to investigate.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 4:13 PM

  9. Thanks for the links to the great poems.

    artsofmay

    December 22, 2020 at 3:20 PM

  10. Such great photos! All those babies, my goodness! 🌞

    Lisa at Micro of the Macro

    December 22, 2020 at 4:18 PM

  11. Fine observation skills, Steve!

    Eliza Waters

    December 22, 2020 at 5:16 PM

    • I suspect you’d have seen this anomalous bushy bluestem, too, and been drawn to check it out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2020 at 6:47 PM

  12. Although I’m quite aware of lynx spiders from my research, I have yet to enjoy a personal encounter. I know that they are here, but they have so far eluded me. So nice to see yours!

    krikitarts

    December 23, 2020 at 3:46 AM


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