New Species of Spider Makes Its Own Decoy to Fool Predators

Melissa Knowles

If you have arachnophobia, you may want to prepare yourself, because what you're about to read could totally creep you out. It is one of the coolest examples of self-defense ever seen in nature. It begins with the discovery of a new species of spider found at the Tambopata Research Center in the Amazon. What makes the spider so different is that it creates its own decoy spider to protect itself from predators.

The decoy is made of leaves, dead bug parts, and other scraps the arachnid finds. It places the decoy in its web and moves out of sight. Scientists believe the spider belongs to the genus Cyclosa and is a quarter the size of its decoy. The Cyclosa genus is known to put debris in its web to distract or entice prey and enemies. Researches have never seen a full-on spider-shaped decoy before. So the discovery of this arachnid is especially remarkable.

The arachnid was found by scientist Phil Torres, who wrote about it in the blog "Rainforest Expeditions." Torres says the decoy is probably used to scare off would-be predators. Research has shown that this particular species of spider is known to have a higher survival rate than other spiders similar to it because the decoy trick appears to really work. One of the spider's predators, wasps, will attack the fake spider instead of the real thing.

What a clever way to fool its predators and its prey. Makes you wonder what else this spider knows how to do that has yet to be discovered.

[Related: When the president Met Spider-Man]

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