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Unbelievable: Spider Builds a Large `spider` Decoy!

You are walking between the trees and you see a medium sized spider about an inch across. It looks a bit dried out, hangin in the center of a web. Nothing really strange about it, especially for the amazon, but as you take a closer look, the web starts to wobble and the spider moves, and you are surprised to discover that this is fact a living spider.

But then you look even closer, and now things start to get really bizarre, that 'spider' is actually made of tiny pieces of dead insect bodies, leaves and other small debrismade together to LOOK like a spider. How did this ever happen? Turns out there is a wizard behind the curtain, and this genius builder is in reality a 5mm tiny spider, hiding above or behind the bigger spider 'scarecrow' it built.

 

spider builds decoy

This spider was just discovered and may be a completely new species of the genus Cyclosa. This genus is known to put debris in its web to attract or confuse prey, but no one has ever seen anything like this. The spiders arrange debris along specialized silk strands called stabilimenta in a symmetrical form that makes it look almost exactly like a larger spider hanging in the web. 

spider builds decoy

Studies have found that some Cyclosa species have a higher survival rate against potential predators like paper wasps because the wasps end up attacking the debris in the web rather than the spider itself. As seen here, Cyclosa can make debris look a bit like a spider, but not nearly as detailed as the spiders found at the Tambopata Research Center which have a complex form that actually looks like a bigger version of themselves, complete with legs and all. 

spider builds decoy

According to experts, this is the only example known at the moment of an animal making a decoy of itself in larger proportions, and so this is zoological history! After 3 days of searching, only 25 of the spiders were found in one floodplain area surrounding the Tambopata Research Center. Extensive searches in other areas did not turn up any of the spiders, showing that they have a rather restricted range, at least locally.

Submitted by: Dan L.

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Related Topics: nature, animals, photos, spider, decoy, scarecrow
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