“Scientists returned to the Amazon rainforest in December to collect data on one of their biggest finds of 2012: a spider that uses insect corpses and jungle trashto build big, spider-shaped decoysin its web.
But these Peruvian spiders, presumed to be a new species of Cyclosa, are not the sole sculptors of false arachnids. A second decoy spider lives in the Philippines, on the island of Negros. Finding two spiders that make such similar designs, 11,000 miles apart, has left scientists wondering how the behavior evolved and if the decoys serve as lures for prey or as an anti-predator defense system. The discoveries also suggest there may be even more sculpting arachnids.”
“Insects and spiders wear the best, most elaborate costumes around. Better, even, than Lady Gaga and her cracked-out impersonations of futuristic bubble weirdos.
But the bugs aren’t doing it for entertainment (mostly). Instead, mimicry — the act of resembling another species — evolved to deceive. It serves many purposes, but defense and predation are chief among them. Over time, some bugs have evolved such magnificently deceptive disguises that they’re nearly identical to the real thing.”
Dancing With Black Widows
"A professional outdoorsman gets to know some of the black widow spiders near his home, first as a shy, retiring pet, then as a venomous threat."