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New Species of Spider Discovered in Peruvian Amazon

 

Peru’s visionary leader in sustainable tourism, Rainforest Expeditions, reports that a new species of spider is believed to have been discovered near the Tambopata Research Center deep in the Peruvian Amazon. The spider is unique in that it constructs a larger, decoy spider in its web, completely from debris.
 
"I've never seen anything like this before,” claims Phil Torres, a Cornell-educated biologist who found the spider while taking wildlife photos in September 2012 near the Tambopata Research Center.
 
“The next steps are to get more photos and take a specimen for closer examination and comparison to other known species. There is a very high chance this is a new species which, when verified, we'll have to name after me, of course!” adds Torres with a wink.

“Because of the spider’s behavior and appearance, I thought that it might be a new species,” Torres states. “After contacting spider experts, we think it is likely in the genus Cyclosa, which is known for piling debris in its web for defense against predators but has never been recorded to do it in such a defined pattern as this particular discovery. The false spiders created by this creature appeared to be made up mostly of dead leaves but also any debris that landed in or near the web- including the remains of its past prey.”
 
“It was very interesting to see the variation in the false spider pattern. Some clearly have 8 legs just like a spider, others range between 4 and 7, but all have a very distinct 'spider hanging in web'-like appearance.  In all my studies and experience, I can safely say that it is incredibly rare behavior to see an animal create a larger, 'scarier' version of itself from debris for protection. This would likely serve to either intimidate any animal that would like to make a meal of a smaller spider or to serve as a decoy so any animal that eats it will get a mouth full of leaves rather than spider. There are several animals out there that eat spiders, including some insects, mammals, and birds, and this would appear to be an excellent defense against any visually-attracted predator.

Source: Rainforest Expeditions

 
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