Bird-dropping Spider

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Bird-dropping Spider - Alan Henderson (Minibeast Wildlife)

Celaenia excavata


A squat black, brown and cream coloured spider, 12 mm (female) or 2.5 mm (male). The abdomen is broad and triangular in shape, with a pair of rough humps towards the rear.


Details
Type
Invertebrate
Group
Animals
Arachnid - Spider
Other Common Names
Death's Head Spider, Orchard Spider
Biology

Feeds at night, using mimicry to capture its prey. It hangs from the edge of a leaf or twig on a short silk thread, with its forelegs stretched out. It releases a chemical scent (pheromone) that mimics the scent released by female moths to attract their mates. If male moths attracted by the spider's mimicking scent flutter close enough they are grabbed by the spider's strong front legs. The egg sacs are marbled brown coloured balls, about 12-14 mm wide, each holding more than 200 eggs. Up to 13 sacs are joined together in a group.

Distinctive Markings

Shape, colour pattern and resting position help this spider look like a bird dropping. It usually holds its legs folded in against its body.

Taxonomy
Phylum
Arthropoda
Class
Arachnida
Order
Araneae
Family
Ardeidae
Genus
Celaenia
Species
excavata

Found in Victoria, New Soth Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia.

Source: Atlas of Living Australia

Looking like dung protects them from predators such as birds and wasps. Sometimes called a Death's Head Spider as its markings can resemble the shape of a skull.


Interesting Facts
Diet

Carnivore. Mainly eats male moths.

Habitat

Found in open woodlands and urban gardens.

Native Status
Native to Australia