Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei

Leaf-Curling Spider

Phonognatha graeffei

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.
References: Wikipedia.

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.

Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2200 x 1624.

Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney.

Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2592 x 1836.

Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2534 x 2429.

Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei
Photo by Mjoyce. Phonognatha graeffei - Leaf curling spider. High Resolution 2336 x 3504.

Recommended Reading

Spiders of Australia: Australian Green Guides, by Terence LindseySpiders of Australia: Australian Green Guides, by Terence Lindsey.

This is a smaller one at 96 pages. From the publisher, "The Australian Green Guides have been created for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages. The most commonly asked questions are answered with particular emphasis on fascinating behavioural insights into both common and unusual creatures. The pages are alive with entertaining and informative text accompanied by exciting action photography."

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

See Also

Return to Australian Spiders
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Leaf-Curling Spider - Phonognatha graeffei

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