If we were in the shoes of a very small animal surrounded by potential predators, we would do anything to save our skin. Even disguising ourselves from the last thing the enemy would want to eat: the poo. A species of weaver spider of Eastern origin (found in Taiwan and China, Japan and South Korea) masks itself and its bird feces canvas, to be as unwelcome to insects as possible - mainly wasps and ants - which they threaten him.
Copy of: Who saw them? GO TO GALLERY (N photos)
Nothing is as it seems
The weaving spiders are highly skilled architects who weave incredibly elaborate canvases in concentric rings, and enrich them with leaves and sticks to defend the offspring from predators. But the arachnids of the Cyclosa gymnastic species have devised an even more shrewd trick: their canvases with thick whitish decorations, enriched by the presence of spiders that are positioned on them, resemble in all respects the dejections of birds. Also the dimensions are the same (on average 0.6 cm for each spider web). Not a case, according to the entomologists of the National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan.
White on white
The researchers measured the color contrast between the spiders (whose back is white) and their canvases, concluding that the color differences between the animal and its home are too tenuous to be noticed by the wasps that prey on them. Then came the actual experiment: the entomologists have captured some spiders and darkened their body or their web with a dust. Having been released, they filmed them for almost 200 hours. The "darkened" spiders have attracted the attention of predators far more than those whose bodies, or canvas, remained white.
Looking for new evidence
It remains to be shown that the wasps actually exchanged arachnids and cobwebs for bird droppings (rather than simply being deceived by the tone-on-tone that made the body of the weavers invisible). If other overwhelming evidence were found, these spiders would undoubtedly be the prize for the most creative disguise.
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