San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Field Guide
Oxyopes scalaris adult female, photo copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female

Oxyopes scalaris
Western Lynx Spider



Females and males are very similar in total length and color patterns. Females are 8-12mm long while males are 8-13mm. Both sexes have a small, brownish oxyopid with striping on the facial, carapace, and abdominal areas. The face has medial white patch and stripe. The carapace is dark on the sides with a medial light patch while the abdomen is grayish dorsally with two pair of angled white stripes on brown sides.

Range and Habitat

Oxyopes scalaris is the most widespread of the lynx spiders in the United States. It occurs across the United States and into Mexico with the greatest concentration in California. In San Diego County this species occurs in almost every habitat from our mountains to the coast. It prefers grass and shrub habitats.

Oxyopes scalaris adult female, photo copyright Jim Berrian
Adult female

Natural History

Habitat preferences may change as the spider develops through its life cycle.

Related and Similar Species

There are two other members of this genus in our region, O. tridens and O. salticus. Oxyopes tridens is brown with bold white stripes on the carapace and a wide white stripe along the top of the abdomen. Oxyopes salticus has lateral white stripes with a medial light stripe on the carapace. The abdomen is overall lighter with three pairs of angled light lateral stripes. Inspection of the genitalia is needed for a positive identification.


Brady, A.R. 1964. The lynx spiders of North America north of Mexico (Araneae, Oxyopidae). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. 131(13): 432-518.

Text by Jim Berrian. Oxyopes salticus photos © Jim Berrian.

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