After today the Department of Awesome Camouflage will never look at leaves the same way. Scientists in southwestern China’s Yunnan rainforest discovered a new species of orb-weaver spider that mimics a dried leaf attached to a tree branch. In fact, she looks so much like a leaf, that it wasn’t the spider that they noticed, but her web.
But what attracted the arachnologist’s attention is the silk appeared to attach a leaf to a tree branch. After looking closer, Kuntner realized one of these leaves was actually a spider.
“If there’s a web, there’s a spider,” says Kuntner, of the Smithsonian Institution and the Evolutionary Zoology Laboratory in Slovenia.
But that’s not all. This spider does more than resemble a leaf, they also use their silk to attach other dry leaves to nearby branches and then hides among them.
So far only two of these leaf-mimicking spiders have been discovered, one female and one juvenile, probably because they’re so incredibly good at hiding in plain sight.
Head over to National Geographic to learn more about this awesome discovery.