Constructed out of leaf bits, forest debris, and partially eaten insects, a newly discovered species of spider, builds elaborate and much larger decoys of itself in a behavior that is likely aimed at confusing predators.
The genus of Cyclosa spiders is known for placing debris in their web to attract or confuse prey, but this new species takes the decoy strategy to a new level, symmetrically arranging the body of the decoy along special silk strands called stabilimenta. The actual spider (pictured below) is only about 5mm in body length.
Studies have found that some Cyclosa species have a higher survival rate against predators like wasps, which attack the debris in the web rather than the actual spider. Phil Torres observed 25 of these horrifying creatures in the floodplain near the Tambopata Research Center in Peru.
Source: Torres P (2012) ‘New Species of Decoy Spider Discovered at Tambopata Research Center‘ Peru Nature