NOV 26, 2016 10:49 AM PST

This New Spider Species Looks like a Dead Leaf

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

You’ve probably heard of stick insects, which can disguise themselves in the wild as small sticks or twigs, but how about a spider that can disguise itself as a type of dried up leaf?
 
The new spider species was discovered in the Yunnan rain forest in China by researcher Matjaz Kuntner and his colleagues. It’s just in time for Fall because at this time of the year, dry leaves are found all over the ground. It gives the spider a great way to camouflage with the rest of its surroundings.
 

 Image Credit: Matjaz Kuntner

The findings have been published in the Journal of Arachnology and the new spider falls under the Poltys genus.
 
The spider was reportedly discovered while the researcher came across a spider web in the rain forest, only he noticed the strand ended at a leaf on a tree, rather than a hard surface. Closer inspection revealed it was actually a spider, not a leaf at all.
 
Interestingly, the spider uses its silk to attach dead leaves to tree branches next to itself, which further improves its camouflage abilities.
 

Can you tell which is the spider and which is an ordinary leaf?

 Image Credit: Matjaz Kuntner

“Camouflage is about fooling the senses. Masquerading is about fooling the brain,” explains John Skelhorn, an entomologist who studies masquerading at the United Kingdom's University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. “A masquerade is much more likely to be successful if there are lots of examples of their disguise around them.”
 
If you’re wondering how a spider like this could have gone unnoticed for so long, well perhaps the answer is in its camouflage technique, which perhaps was so convincing that it even went without human detection, until now.
 
Two specimens were acquired during the trip, one male and one female, however it’s possible that each of the two specimens are different species from one another in themselves. More genetic testing is required to see how closely the relate to one another and also to other spider groups.
 
The new species has yet to be given a colloquial name, but it shouldn’t be too long now. Additional research will shed light on whether or not there are other kinds of species in the same genus in the region.
 
Source: National Geographic

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JAN 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 05, 2020
Here's How Reindeer Stay Warm in Freezing Temperatures
Reindeer are some of Winter’s most iconic animals, but have you ever wondered how these spectacular creatures are able to withstand such frigid tempe...
JAN 24, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
JAN 24, 2020
Sting Operation: Underage Customers Can't Buy Cannabis
Cannabis retailers in Colorado, Washington and Oregon have received top marks in secret tests to determine whether they were selling to underage buyers (yo...
JAN 27, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 27, 2020
This Octopus Emerges From the Water in Search of Food
Most octopuses live and breathe underwater, just like the vast majority of other marine animals. But this octopus endemic to Australia has a special abilit...
JAN 28, 2020
Earth & The Environment
JAN 28, 2020
Humans Causing "Blue Acceleration" on Ocean Resources
Humans have depended on ocean resources for centuries. However, a recent analysis of the state of the ocean showed a sharp acceleration in human pressures...
FEB 07, 2020
Health & Medicine
FEB 07, 2020
Could False Cannabis Information Online Be Harmful To Public Health?
Under federal law, cannabis is illegal and considered a class 1 drug, meaning that it is perceived to have no medical value, with a high potential for user...
FEB 22, 2020
Genetics & Genomics
FEB 22, 2020
46,000-Year-Old Bird Recovered From Siberian Permafrost
In 2018 in a place called Belaya Gora in northeastern Siberia, a frozen bird was found in the ground. A sample of DNA was recovered from the bird....
Loading Comments...