A piece of bird poop? Look again!

in HiveGarden4 months ago


One of my favourite discoveries in the garden, this year has been a Bird Dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata) that has made her home on our White Sapote.

Looks like bird poo to me!

I discovered her by accident when I was cleaning a few leaves from bird poo while getting ready for the Mannum Gardening Club to visit. I’m assuming she’s a her because of the size of the body. I could be wrong but in the spider world, the ladies are usually bigger than the fellas.

I’d brushed a few leaves clean of debris, then one of the lumps of bird poo stuck to my hand. I shook it off and it hung by a thread from my fingers. Curious I thought, then she unfurled those legs and got up, and walked along my arm, apparently in reverse! I had to look closely to discern the front end. I knew exactly what it was and was pretty excited! This is the first Bird Dropping Spider that I’ve found in our garden.

Surprisingly, for something that looks like a piece of bird poo, this spider likes to lurk beneath the leaves of the White Sapote. It must be prey-central bcause she hasn’t left that tree.

When she unfurls those legs, she looks like a crab.

I’ll keep watching her antics as time goes by. I’m hoping to see some of the relatively large egg sacs that she will string on some fine web in between the leaves.

The best part is that the White Sapote tree is in a pot right next to where we open the car door. I check for her whenever I’m leaving or arriving in the garden.

In the pic below you can she that she has caught a decent sized moth. She must have some appetite!

That’s a big lunch!

She doesn’t move during the day, preferring to hunt at night. I’ve learned that when hunting, a Bird Dropping Spider hangs from a single silk thread and releases a pheromone that mimics the sex smells released by female moths. When a male moth approaches too closely, our spider captures it with its powerful front legs. Ouch!

These spiders are harmless to humans but deadly to male moths.




 4 months ago 

Haha that is pretty neat.

!discovery 19

Wonderful mimicry

nice !

It's an awesome critter!

That's some amazing camouflage on that spider. Cool!

True. I wouldn't have seen her had she not stuck to me. amazing indeed!

Very interesting! I had heard of these but it's cool you get to observe her frequently.

Today she was sitting on top of a cut stem in the rain.

In the rain? I thought spiders would hide from rain. How cool!

So did I but she was just sitting there. Maybe it's all part of her elaborate plan...

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No worries!

Hi! Amazing discovery!
Thank you for sharing.
I found a similar spider in France, but that one was in a web.
Apparently it's called Cyclosa conica.
It was a few years ago when I was living in the forest, I spent a lot of time observing insects.
The same day I saw that poop-spider I witnessed a pursuit like in a miniature James Bond movie on the carpentry of the outdoor toilets.
What I first thought was a big ant running after a smaller one, changed completely when the first ant fell over the edge of the beam and the big one jumped after it, but secured by a "cable"!! I realised it was not an ant but a spider!! I am not sure but I think it was that one: Myrmarachne formicaria
Fascinating anyway.