Spiders are amazing animals. Recently I wrote about a rare and endangered spider called the Braken Bat Cave meshweaver whose presence stopped the construction of a highway underpass project in San Antonio, Texas. In this essay I noted that researchers have described play in spiders and how it is influenced by the personality of the individual and about spiders who belong to the genus of jumping spiders called Portia who change their behavior depending on the behavior of their prey. These spiders show complex predatory strategies that involve problem solving and future planning despite having a small brain.
Spider art as deception
Now we've learned there is a spider who is a member of the genus Cyclosa (and perhaps even a new species) living in the Peruvian Amazon, who builds complex lifelike decoys of itself (see also and), apparently to confuse or to distract potential predators. While trekking through the Amazon, scientist and educator Phil Torres spotted this spider "perched above an intricate, lifelike replica of itself constructed from leaves, dead bugs parts, and other scraps ...The spiders arrange debris among specialized silk strands called stabilimenta in a symmetrical form that makes it look almost like a larger spider hanging in the web."