Plenty of animals and insects use camouflage to survive in the wild. The highly venomous stonefish is designed by nature to look like a rock and the leaf-litter mantid (below) blends in seamlessly among the dry leaves on the forest floor.
Still, scientists were surprised when they stumbled upon a spider in the tropical rain forests of southwest China that resembled a dying leaf. This spider camouflages itself so well in fact that after looking into historical sightings of the arachnid, the only documentation of the species they found was in a museum in Vietnam.
Yet researchers suspect that the Vietnamese spider is technically classified as a known species within the Poltys genus, making the find an entirely new species.
During the two weeks spent searching for additional specimens, only one was found and the new species is yet to be named.
The most interesting finding relates to how this new species of spider uses its natural appearance to cloak itself. Instead of taking refuge among leaves, this spider knows how to create its own cover.
The leaves she was found hanging with had already detached from the tree but had been rehung with webbing.
An excerpt from the report published in the Journal of Arachnology, researchers noted that, "The observed female must have actively lifted dead leaves from the forest floor to attach them to a twig about 2.5 meters high up on a tree prior to positioning herself on a thread of silk amidst live and dead leaves."
Pretty amazing spider senses.
Masquerading, as scientists call it, is far more common in insects that arachnids, with only about 100 arachnid species having physical features that allow them to blend in with their surroundings.
And as far as rare goes, this is the only spider found so far that resembles a leaf.
This spider's nocturnal schedule and amazing camouflage ability had kept it from being detected by not only predators, but researchers as well.Source: Livescience