Monday, 13 February 2017


Image: Bernard DUPONT
It's a leaf.

A perfectly honest, perfectly innocent leaf, shivering in the wind.

Image: Robert Whyte
Tree Stump Spider (Poltys illepidus)
It's a twig.

A perfectly honest... twig...

Image: Robert Whyte
With... legs?

It's a spider!

Image: Robert Whyte
A spider, swathed in the robes of deceit, the pose of lies, the legs of duplicity, and the weird pointy bit of treachery.

In other words... camouflage (dun dun DUHHHHNN)!

Image: Vijay Anand Ismavel
It's pretty good camouflage (or mimicry), too.

There are more than 40 spiders in the genus Poltys, found in sub-Saharan Africa and the entire region from India to Japan and down to Australia.

Video: 自然谷

They build orb webs of traditional style each night, hopefully catching a few moths to make it all worthwhile.

As morning dawns, it's time to rest up. But the world is a dangerous place for a small spider, so they hide from it. And where better to hide than in plain view? Plain view is huge! If you can hide there, they'll never find you.

Video: hetaenn

Poltys spiders hug their little wood-looking legs against their little wood-looking bodies and suddenly it's not a spider anymore. It's a little wood-looking thing.

Or leaf-looking, depending on colour, texture and the dimensions of the weird pointy bit. Usually. the weirdest, pointiest ones look exactly like a dried up leaf stem.

Image: Bernard DUPONT
Tailed Spider (Poltys mouhoti)
Next time you invite a house plant to your home...

Be careful! It might be covered in SPIDERS!

Image: Robert Whyte
Next time you go out tree-hugging...

Oh no! You're hugging SPIDERS!

Image: Patrick Randall
What eight legs you have, grandma.

All the better to actually be a SPIDER with!


elfinelvin said...

That weird pointy bit is rather impressive. It's great camouflage when hiding and rather showy garb the rest of the time.

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

It's weird how often camouflage is like that! Well, I guess it makes sense. A big, green plant kind of merges into the background in a rain forest but it's really showy in a hotel lounge. Gotta love animals that are so committed to mimicking a plant that they act the same way!

Susan DA said...

(1) I give up, what's that wormy thing in the top photo? Part of the spidey, or its latest meal?
(2) Squirrels may also hide in plain sight: they flatten themselves to a surface e.g. a fence top. Emergency hiding.
(3) Also birds do it (don't know about bees). You've probably seen songbirds feeding on the ground. When they spot a bird of prey they become dead birds on the ground. As still as death until the danger's past.

Joseph Jameson-Gould said...

Wormy thing? Aside from the last picture (which shows a web), all the pictures show one spider standing on a twig. I guess you mean the thing that looks like a leaf stalk? That's part of the camouflage!

I don't think I've ever seen a squirrel do that, that's really cool! Mostly I just see them run.

Haven't seen birds do that either. There aren't many birds of prey where I live. Not sure something like that would work against a cat!

Related Posts with Thumbnails