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
NOV 23, 2020
Plants & Animals
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
NOV 23, 2020
Can Kelp Help Reduce Acidification in the Ocean?
Our oceans are becoming more acidic; their pH is going down as they absorb CO2 from Earth's atmosphere. It's thought tha ...
DEC 15, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Spiders Build Webs in Space
DEC 15, 2020
Spiders Build Webs in Space
As humans have ventured into space, they have carried some terrestrial life with them, including spiders. Once dreamed u ...
DEC 29, 2020
Space & Astronomy
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
DEC 29, 2020
How Do Spiders Behave in Zero Gravity?
The International Space Station (ISS) is a treasure trove of scientific intrigue. But it's not just life-saving drug ...
JAN 10, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Did Sleep Precede the Brain?
JAN 10, 2021
Did Sleep Precede the Brain?
The longer we stay awake without sleeping, the more difficult it can become to think straight. But our functioning is re ...
JAN 18, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
The Weird Animal with Ten Sex Chromosomes
JAN 18, 2021
The Weird Animal with Ten Sex Chromosomes
The platypus is a near-threatened species from eastern Australia and Tasmania. It's considered a mammal because it grows ...
FEB 19, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Where is fern diversity most prevalent in the world and why should we care?
FEB 19, 2021
Where is fern diversity most prevalent in the world and why should we care?
Why are some areas of the world more biodiverse than others? In an effort to understand what factors contribute to the u ...
Loading Comments...