I don’t have to tell you that some people are terrified of spiders. I chalk it up to fear of the unknown. Like snakes, the best way to lose your fear is by learning about them and how to identify them. All spiders have venom, but the majority are not inclined to bite, and if they bite, most species cause no serious injury.
There are two common spiders often found in vegetable and flower gardens that many never see because of their cryptic coloration and the fact that they don’t spin webs to catch prey; instead, they lie in wait to ambush an unsuspecting victim.
Green lynx spiders are medium-sized insect eaters that blend in with green vegetation. One of the most common places to see them is near a flower, where the food comes to them. With a split-second motion, they snare their prey with a net of legs and hairs before inserting venom to paralyze the unfortunate insect.
Several crab spider species hunt the same way but are often colored to blend in with the flower petals. They also use their long legs to grab the insect long enough to sink their fangs into the prey.
Both spiders are generalist feeders, so both harmful and beneficial insects can become a meal, but they, in turn, are preyed upon by mud dauber wasps. Spiders are part of the intricate food web of the natural world.
For more information, see HGIC 2820, Natural Enemies: Predators and Parasitoids; HGIC 1710, Balancing Nature within Your Landscape; and HGIC 2512, Mud Daubers