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OH SHIT there’s a spider out there that builds bigger spiders

Well, not actual giant spiders, but large spider decoys to deter potential predators and scare the shit out of prey. Making yourself looking bigger and scarier for offense and defense is pretty common in the animal world, but building a sculpture of a larger spider out of pieces of leaves and other debris is a much different and much more complex feat than just puffing out your chest.

A spider that builds elaborate, fake spiders and hangs them in its web has been discovered in the Peruvian Amazon.

Believed to be a new species in the genus Cyclosa, the arachnid crafts the larger spider from leaves, debris and dead insects. Though Cyclosa includes other sculpting arachnids, this is the first one observed to build a replica with multiple, spidery legs.

Scientists suspect the fake spiders serve as decoys, part of a defense mechanism meant to confuse or distract predators. “It seems like a really well evolved and very specialized behavior,” said Phil Torres, who described the find in a blog entry written for Rainforest Expeditions. Torres, a biologist and science educator, divides his time between Southern California and Peru, where he’s involved in research and education projects.

“Considering that spiders can already make really impressive geometric designs with their webs, it’s no surprise that they can take that leap to make an impressive design with debris and other things,” he said.


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