Family: Araneidae (Orb-weavers)
Size: Male body size 5 to 6 mm, female body size 8 to 12 mm
Distribution: Woodlands and urban areas in the north-eastern, eastern and southern states of Australia.
Habitat: The spider is distinguished by having a curled leaf at the centre of its web, in which it shelters. The species form pairs living together in the same leaf, though at opposite ends of their shelter, even before mating at maturity. The female creates a separate curled leaf "nursery" hung in foliage nearby.
About the Leaf-Curling Spider
Although living together inside the one leaf sounds unusually romantic for spiders, females may cannibalise cohabiting males, independently of whether the female has had food.
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2200 x 1624.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2592 x 1836.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2534 x 2429.
Photo by Mjoyce. Phonognatha graeffei - Leaf curling spider. High Resolution 2336 x 3504.
A Guide to the Spiders of Australia, by Volker W. Framenau, Barbara C. Baehr, and Paul Zborowski.
This is a great field guide to Australian spiders. It's a toss up between this one and Spiderwatch for my second favourite spider field guide. This one is a lot different to Spiderwatch. It's got more than twice the number of pages. It's got much better photos. It comes with a soft clear plastic cover protecting the usual soft cover. On the other side of the argument, it's got no index other than an index of family names (i.e. no index of actual spider names, not their common names and not their scientific names). Which makes it hard to find things in it, if you don't know what family they are in. Also it's based on families and not individual spider species. It's still a wonderful book though.
From the publisher, "This definitive guide to the subject, written by three experts in the field, offers a window into a fascinating world. Notorious species such as the Redback and the Sydney Funnel-web sit alongside less wellknown but equally intriguing spiders such as the ant-mimics and net-casting spiders. The introduction covers spider structure, evolution, reproduction, silk and venom, together with peculiarities of the family within an Australian context.
The two main sections of the book deal with Trapdoor Spiders and Modern Spiders, and within each section there is a chapter on each of the 80 or so spider families that occur in Australia. Each is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the subjects, with more than 30 images per family for some of the larger groups such as the jumping spiders, and many rare images never before published. "
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