Tuesday, November 29, 2016

[Arachnida • 2016] Leaf Masquerade in An Orb Web Spider Genus Poltys C.L. Koch, 1843, (Araneidae)


The ultimate leaf masquerade in an orb web spider, an undescribed species of Poltys (Araneidae) from Yunnan.
 A female had hung dead leaves from a twig that also included live leaves to masquerade itself from visual predators. Upon slight disturbance, she withdrew higher onto the twig where it remained motionless


Abstract

Leaf masquerade—an animal resembling leaves that are inedible for predators or innocuous for prey—is well known in insects but less so in arachnids. We report a case of a striking morphological and behavioral adaptation that can be labeled as leaf masquerade in an undescribed spider species (Poltys C.L. Koch, 1843, Araneidae) from southwest China. The female abdomen has anatomical analogues of a leaf pedicel and venation, and its color is both green and brown, thus resembling both live and dry leaves. The spider camouflages itself with pulled dead leaves among live ones. This novel natural history in a spider adds an arachnid model to the growing literature on animal masquerade.

Keywords: Passive defenses, anachoresis, crypsis, Poltys, Araneidae


  



Figure 1.— The ultimate leaf masquerade in an orb web spider, an undescribed species of Poltys (Araneidae) from Yunnan.
AC, A female had hung dead leaves from a twig that also included live leaves to masquerade itself from visual predators (A). Upon slight disturbance, she withdrew higher onto the twig (B, C) where it remained motionless; D, lateral view of female pose in nature, note her abdomen resembling a dead leaf ventrally and a live, green leaf dorsally, both parts extending into a long and straight, apical abdominal hairy pedicel; E, female placed on a flat surface, showing her flexible abdominal pedicel, now curved; F, same, dorsal close up, note ‘‘leaf venation’’ and long hairy pedicel. 

Matjaž Kuntner, Matjaž Gregorič, Ren-Chung Cheng and Daiqin Li. 2016. Leaf Masquerade in An Orb Web Spider. Journal of Arachnology. 44(3);397–400.

This Never Before Seen Spider Looks Like a Leaf
http://on.natgeo.com/2fVTnex via @NatGeo

No comments:

Post a Comment