The orb-web spider Cyclosa ginnaga has a pretty genius way of camouflaging itself from predators.
Can you tell what the eight-legged creature is trying mimic in the picture below?
If you guessed bird poop, then you’re right on the mark.
“The C. ginnaga spider has a silver body and creates a white disc on its web that functions to attract prey,” the researchers wrote in a a press blurb.”But these characteristics may also make them conspicuous to predatory wasps.”
So why do they hang out in the middle of the white blotch on their webs? By making them look like a splat of bird poop, it seems to hide them in plain sight.
Scientists led by I-Min Tso of the National Chung-Hsin University in Taiwan tested this out and reported their findings on Thursday, May 29, in the journal Scientific Reports.
The scientists recreated how the spider’s colour and web ornament (the small white patch at the center of the web) would look if they were seen by a wasp, since the wasps don’t see colour differences as well as we do and are the spiders main predators. The differences between the spider/ornament and a bird poop were at levels indistinguishable in the wasps’s eyes.
They also saw that when the spiders’ web ornaments were blackened with carbon powder they suffered from way more wasp attacks.
The researchers note there are alternate theories out there as to why these spiders make these web ornaments and this theory still needs to be compared to others directly.
But you have to hand it to the spiders — they do look remarkably like something that would come out of a bird’s butt. Can you tell which is bird poop and which are spiders in the images below?
That’s almost as good as this amazing moth, which pretends to be a spider:
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