Spider Discovered That Can Make Its Body Look Like a Leaf!
While numerous insects exist that have evolved to mimic different things often seen in nature such as dead twigs, flowers, bark, and even bird droppings, there are very few arachnids that use this method of masquerade, only a handful at best. Scientists recently discovered a new spider to add to that list that can masquerade as a genuine leaf, dead or alive. The presence of this spider is so subtle that you could easily think you are taking a leaf from a tree and have no idea that you’re actually holding a spider until it unfolds into the terrifying creature it really is.
Matjaž Kuntner, of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a few of his fellow researchers were shining a light on some silk spider strands they had seen on a tree, when they noticed a patch of leaves that didn’t look quite right. Further investigation revealed this odd leaf to actually be a new type of spider that was masquerading as one of the many leaves on the tree. This is the first spider ever discovered that can actually masquerade as a leaf. A spider with the ability to pretend to be a genuine leaf is something scientists had never come across until now.
This orb-weaving spider spins its silk around a group of leaves on a plant in order to then hang among them, masquerading as an actual leaf. How is the spider able to pull this off? Well, first the spider’s back is shaped almost like a teardrop, and is a speckled green, leafy color, covered in other markings that resemble plant veins. It can use this side to masquerade as a living leaf. The other side of the spider is a dull brown color, making it body look much like a dead leaf does. So, the spider can masquerade as both a live and dead leaf depending on what other leaves it needs to blend among. A long, stalk-shaped appendage coming out of its abdomen that looks a bit like a tail adds the illusion of it having a stalk connecting it to the plant just like other leaves. To complete its masquerade, the spider bunches its legs tightly together so they blend in with the rest of its body and don’t give away its true identity. Once it is hanging by its silk threads among the other leaves, it is hardly discernable from the rest. Now that’s a good costume.
Have you ever spotted a spider or other insect hiding among leaves? How did it make itself blend in with its environment?Tags: Spider Discovered That Can Make Its Body Look Like a Leaf!