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June 13, 2014

"This spider web was deliberately spun to look like bird poop"


Below, excerpts from Helen Thompson's May 29 Smithsonian story.


Deep in the forests of Southeast Asia lives a silver-colored orb-weaving spider that decorates its web with a silky spiral pattern and bits of dead leaves. This isn't just to make the web a bit more festive, though. Some scientists think that this arachnid is just pretending to be poop — bird poop specifically.

In a paper published today in Scientific Reports, a team of researchers from Tunghai University and the Endemic Species Research Institute in Taiwan argue that Cyclosa ginnaga spiders' body color and web designs are part of a strategy to masquerade as bird droppings and cut its chances of dying in a predator attack.

"We provide empirical evidence for the first time that bird dropping masquerading can effectively reduce the predation risk of an organism," says I-Min Tso, a co-author on the study and an ecologist at Tunghai University in Taiwan.

June 13, 2014 at 08:01 PM | Permalink


May also be useful in the corporate setting.

Posted by: Marianne | Jun 14, 2014 2:22:02 PM

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