Spider Weaves Fake Spider in its Web

12/19/2012

Biologist (and my Twitter pal) Phil Torres recently discovered a potentially new species of spider in the Amazon, and what an odd creature it is.

Torres first noticed what seemed to be a fairly large spider sitting on its web.  Upon further investigation, however, he discovered that what he was seeing was no spider at all, but instead a "decoy" spider made of bits of leaves, insects parts and other forest debris.

The real spider was a tiny creature hiding just behind the larger decoy.  In theory, the decoy protects the actual spider from predators or other would-be attackers by catching their attention first.  Other spiders in the genus Cyclosa weave debris into their webs for this purpose, but none weave detailed larger version of themselves like the spider described by Torres.  

That could mean it's a new species altogether, which is pretty awesome.

Read Torres' full account here and check out his photo of the decoy.  Amazing.

Spider Decoy by Phil Torres
Photo by Phil Torres.

Watch more spider videos from Animal Planet.

See my TV appearances and learn how to protect wildlife with National Wildlife Federation. 


David Mizejewski is a naturalist with the National Wildlife Federation. His goal is to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of nature. Meet David >
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