Picture yourself in the woods. You might be taking a stroll or maybe you are the adventurous kind and are hiking to some secluded spot. You pause for a breather and lean against the nearest tree, grasping its branch for support. But suddenly you feel movement beneath your fingers. There’s something on the branch. And you have unknowingly blocked its movement. You gingerly remove your hand, hoping the poor creature hasn’t been squished. But lo and behold, a large spider arches its back and scuttles behind the branch, leaving you stunned and covered in sweat. The wrap-around spider is a creature of nightmares, especially if you are an arachnophobe.
Let’s get to know our camouflaged creepy crawler.
How can the wrap-around spider blend so perfectly with the tree branch?
The wrap-around spider or the Dolophones turrigera, to be scientifically accurate, is found in the land of Australia. It can grow up to a size of 8mm if it’s a female. The males are relatively smaller and can grow up to 5-6mm.
Its most distinguishing feature is the shape of its body. The wrap-around spider has a concave underbelly. That explains how it can contour its shape to adhere to a tree branch. Besides that, its ability to hide in plain sight is magnified by the fact that its outer skin bears a striking resemblance to the bark of a tree.
This kind of obvious camouflage, where a species blends into its environment is called mimesis. The general need of protection from predators to be an impetus for pursuing camouflage applies here too. The wrap-around spider is known to hide during the day and build large vertical webs during the night.
Is it venomous?
It is understandable to expect that. But no! The wrap-around spider belongs to the family of Araneidae. Though some species of this family are known to be venomous, their venom is not dangerous to humans.