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June 13, 2014

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

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

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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


Comments

May also be useful in the corporate setting.

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

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