Scientists have discovered a unique, leaf-shaped spider that perfectly camouflages itself in rainforest trees—and even drags dead leaves up into the branches, securing them with web, to help itself hide.
By Kaleigh Rogers | MOTHERBOARD
A short paper published in the Journal of Arachnology this week described the spider, which was discovered in 2011 by a group of researchers in the rainforests of Mengla, in Yunnan province, China. They were on an expedition to look for spiders, but not this specific kind, according to Matjaž Kuntner, lead author of the paper and a research with both the National Museum of Natural History and the Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology ZRC SAZU in Slovenia.
“We’re trained to find strands of spider silk at night by using our headlamps and we found these strands of silk and basically followed them to the source of it,” Kuntner explained.
The first spider was found hanging among dead leaves that were lashed to the tree branches with spider silk, making the researchers suspect that the female spider went down to the forest floor, gathered up dead leaves, dragged them to her hiding spot, and hung them up like curtains.