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Camouflaged Arachnidan

Camouflaged Arachnidan
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-09-23
Categories: Spiders
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4, 1/160 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 4, Camouflage [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-11-28 8:57
Viewed: 6041
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 90
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hersilia sericea / Long spinnered bark spider

It is the first photo of this spider on Trek Nature. After an extensive search I realised there are actually no photos of this species on the entire Internet. Even trying to find detail on this spider proved to be fruitless on the Web. Fortunately we have an identification guide of the Spiders of Southern Africa and this booklet provided me with some useful information.

The day before I've taken this photograph I saw a lot of Blue-headed Agama with babies in a Monkey Puzzle tree at work. I did not have my camera with me so the following day I made sure I had it with me as I was hopeful to find the Agamas again. I walked slowly around the tree, so as not to scare the Agamas (if perhaps they were there) and as I moved around the tree I just saw some big eyes watching me. At first I thought I was imagining things, because as I moved closer it looked like a little rounded alien head with those "big black eyes" staring at me. Then only I realised that it was only a spider and what I thought was "big black eyes" was actually dark shady areas on the spider's abdomen. I only captured this one photo as it was a very hot Zululand day and I needed to get back to the comfort of my air-conditioned office.

Long Spinnered Bark Spiders

These spiders bear no relation to the ordinary bark spiders which are in the family Araneidae genus Caerostris - a good example of where common names can be rather confusing!

A permanent inhabitant on bark. They don't spin webs, but they deposit guide threads on surfaces.

Harmless to humans.

They hunt pedestrian prey. They enswathe their prey, emitting silk from the long spinnerets while these are rotated rapidly across and around the victim.

They are flat spiders with two long spinnerets protruding way past the posterior end of the abdomen. The 3rd pair of legs are much shorter and compared to the other 3 pairs they are very tiny. They are usually seen resting upside-down (as seen on my photo) with legs outstretched on the bark of trees. The eyes are generally in two strongly recurved rows, situated on a large protuberance at the front of the carapace. Their colour is variable, from grey to brown and even a speckled black, and it has been reported that they may undergo a certain amount of colour change depending on the background on which they are resting.

The carapace and abdomen are flattened and the abdomen is most often wider behind than it is in front. The legs are fairly robust and are held out in a star-like fashion; they have the same cryptic coloration as the spider.

Habitat and Behaviour
They are difficult to see on the bark of trees. The flattened body reduces shadows and the speckled coloration blends in with the background. This camouflage is destroyed only by movement, when the spider is disturbed. It is reported that should you mark the eight points at which the legs rest and then disturb the spider so it moves away, it will return and take up the identical position, after a time.

Taken from: Southern African SPIDERS – An Identification Guide by Martin R. Filmer. Struik Publishers.

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

eng55, crs, nglen, bahadir, xTauruSx, Janice, boreocypriensis, tuslaw, zulfu, Dis. Ac., uleko, Argus, lise, anel, marhowie, pilonm, waylim, rousettus, maurydv, Aaltjie, jconceicao, cicindela, Alex99, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To bahadir: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:29
To xTauruSx: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:28
To Janice: SizeMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:27
To Silvio2006: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:27
To boreocypriensis: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:25
To zulfu: AgamasMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:23
To wishnugaruda: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:19
To uleko: SizeMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:18
To Argus: SizeMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:17
To lise: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:16
To joey: SizeMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:16
To anel: SpidersMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:14
To ramthakur: ThanksMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:13
To pilonm: SizeMiss_Piggy 1 12-03 03:11
To marhowie: I think soMiss_Piggy 1 12-02 06:32
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-11-28 9:00]

Hi Anna,
Very nice capture of this interesting spider.It's new to me.It's face seems a little scary:)I liked POV,framing,camouflage and exposure a lot.Excellent work!
Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • crs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 469 W: 0 N: 922] (3551)
  • [2008-11-28 9:09]

Hello Anna,

Your spider is very interesting and you have shown it well in your photo. The sharp image alows viewer observ good details of the arachnid. The colors of the image look nice and the idea of camouflage is well shown.

Thank you for sharing,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-11-28 9:52]

Hi Anna. Congrats on a TN and internet first. This is an amazing close up of this spider which is so well hidden against the bark. You have captured good detail in the body and face.
with natural colours. with interesting notes too.
Well done TFS.

Have a nice weekend.

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2008-11-28 10:03]

Hello Anna,
This is excellent macro , with great impact. A very good POV and comp. Sharp detail, excellent light, color and BG. Very well done. Thank You!Best regards

hello Anna!
camouflage impressive of this black spider
well seen for this capture with nice details

best sERGIO

Hello Anna, great shot of this camoflaged spider. Realy i could not notice when it in a small picture:). Great camouflage example.
TFS and regards,

Hello Anna
You have a perfect eye to find such beautifully camouflaged spider. Superb macro shot.
TFS and regards, Deniz

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-11-28 11:24]
  • [+]

Hi Anna
You're right about the internet - 294 mentions of Hersilia sericea on Google, but nothing about the spider itself!! Except for this page now.

Good find of this spider. He has a really good camouflage cover, and unless you were looking hard I don't think anyone would be able to find him.

Interesting patterns - I can understand you thinking the abdomen patterns were his eyes, How big is he?


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-11-28 11:34]

Hello Anna,
A great photo of this 'monstrous' spider. Excellent sharpness in its very beautiful camouflaged colours. The BG is fitting to the object.
Congratulations to the premier photo of this spider.

Hi Anne, splendid example of camufflage, fantastic spider with fine details and excellent sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

Hi Anna,
You should have an eagle eye to see this beutifull spider camuflaged on a bark of dried tree. Details and sharpness, also DOF and POV are great. i also liked the tissue of the bark here.
TFS this fine macro and have a nice weekend my friend!
All the best!


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2008-11-28 19:42]

Congratulations on this unusual capture Anna,
Very nicely shown in it's natural environment with perfect clarity and detail. Very informative notes!! TFS.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-11-29 5:27]
  • [+]

Hello Anna, great close up shot of a camouflages spider. It would be nice if you show us agamas from there. Hope you could catch one in near future.
TFS and regards,

Hi Anna,
I can't say that this spider is pretty, sorry, but it's an interesting one. I don't like spiders very much, when I get close to one without seeing it before I always have to cry and run away in panic ;-)
This one looks like it face with big eyes from above. Very good shot, thanks and greetings
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Very nice capture of this interesting spider.

Hi Anna,

nice macroshot of these Spider.
Exelent details and pov.
It are good camouflaged.
Very good notes too.


  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-11-30 0:56]
  • [+]

Hello Anna,
Not surprising that I missed this Spider as it is so very well camouflaged here! I like your POV including the long legs. Its got a beautiful pattern on its underside that you show very clearly and the light and colours are beautiful. I expect it was pretty big?
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-11-30 1:34]
  • [+]

Hello Anna,
Congratulations on this first for TN, a Long-spinnered Bark Spider.
Though it is well camouflaged on the log you captured it with fine sharpness to allow us to see it with good detail from this dorsal POV and the side lighting is a great help. It looks like it might be about 10cm between the tips of the feet.
Well done and thanks for sharing this unique contribution,
Kind regards,

  • Great 
  • lise Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 169 W: 48 N: 548] (2877)
  • [2008-11-30 9:16]
  • [+]

Hi Anna,
This is a very scary spider!
It really mastered the art of camouflage, you have a very good sense of observation.
Wonderful composition and POV.
Great job

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-11-30 10:10]
  • [+]

Hi Anna,
a superb shot of this spider.
Very good detail and brilliant sharpness.
Well composed too.
How big was it?

Well done,

Goed gedoen Anna - baie navorsingswerk! Groete

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-12-01 1:28]
  • [+]

Hello Anna,
It doesn't look very friendly this fellow! Amazing shape of this bark Spider and most interesting posting. I must say I don't like spiders too much, but it is always very exciting to see something new on TN.
Thanks and have a nice day

Anna, this is a unique spider and certainly makes its first appearance on TN in the shape of your well captured picture.
I can see all the features you have described in your note very clearly -- especially those short legs. The camouflage with the bark of the tree is unmistakable.
You write your notes with meticulous care and the one with this spider is very enlightening.
Thanks and warm regards.

Perfect example of camouflage Anna, good eye :)
Great detail, exposure, and the textured substrate adds interest..
Congrats on this find, a first for TN..and the entire internet if you're correct :)
Well done!

Hello Anna,

Ouf! I don't know for you but Spider photography is like a therapy for me! How big was it? It looks a little bit like our water spiders in Quebec (big and ugly ;-) ). The camouflage is remarkable and you were very good to have found it! I can't imagine if you just sit next to it on this log. Brrrr! Can you feel my didain! Great picture very sharp and very realistic!!!

Excellent job, Anna!!!



Hello Anna,

Very good sharp picture of this amazing spider. It has the a kind of tail. I saw another picture and it has also the same appendice. Excellent camouflage for this spider. Good light and colours.

  • Great 
  • waylim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 296 W: 8 N: 489] (1765)
  • [2008-12-02 11:08]

Greetings Anna,
One amazing thing about TN is that it seems every time I'm here, I see and learn about some insects or animals that I didn't even know exited until here, such as this one. This is an image with really good details, I like how it camouflage itself very well in it environment, but you capture it well and it can’t hide from your camera, exposing its details and character. Very well observed and captured. Thanks Anna.

great sharpness and camouflage, greetings ! Ori

Hello Anna
Hersilia's interesting looking spider. It camouflaged on wood greatly. your capture also great with superb focus, POV and composition. Notes also very nice as always. Thanks for sharing. best regards

i couldn't see the spider, where is he? Oh, there it is! i like the spiders much and this one is really different and interesting. i don't think i meet him in the wild, that is because it's not living here in Turkiye or i would say that i can't spot him due to the superb camouflaging!
Great shot and very well seen!

  • Great 
  • cako Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 485 W: 0 N: 772] (3395)
  • [2008-12-03 5:13]

Hi Anna
Very interestin a spider
very good sharp and detail
well done.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-12-03 9:26]

Hi Anna.
I do not what is more impressive old wood as a BG or main character – cute spider. Framing of the scene is superb. You managed to reflect all beauties of the spider as well as the BG by the best way. Fantastic use of sunlight and shadows from insect and bark. DOF and sharpness of the image are ultimate. I also like square cropping and natural colour palette. Well done. My compliments.

Merhaba Anna,gerçekten güzel kamufle olmuş.Güzel bir çekim,ağaç dokusunun üzerinde güzel bir makro,ellerine sağlık :)

Hello Anna,
Good capture of the long spinnered bark spider.camoflaged well with the woods,a different picture!

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-12-05 12:48]

Hi Anna,
well done on a first here on TN. This indeed an impressive looking creature, shown so well against the texture of the bark, in it's natural environment. Excellent detail and colours too...great work, your passion for nature shines through once again.

Ciao Anna,
un'interessante documentazione di mimetismo nel gioco che si instaura fra predatori e prede, eccellenti POV e composizione che mostrano perfettamente le caratteristiche di questo aracnide catturato con straordinaria definizione e bellissimi e naturali colori.

Hello Anna.

Excellent macro, very good details.

Jose Luis.

Now this is really scary! Thank goodness its only a photo! Thanks for sharing, Anna, this is as close to one I would like to get!
Once again, great photo!

Hi Anna

We have species that are somewhat similar to this species. But I've never been able to get a decent shot, they usually take off when you get close enough.
Great symetrical composition, brilliant sharpness. TFS.


Hello Anna

Wow,this is an impressive shot,I really like the texture of the bark and the direction of it's striations.The spider pose really lends itself nicely to the shot.
Very good POV,the composition has an artistic look to it,even though as a documentation of natural history the shot has equal value.Well done on both scores.


Hello Miss Piggy
Well here I am at last. They say rather late than never.
This is a lovely shot. (If spiders could be lovely, then this is a lovely spider.) You really must have good eyesight as I am surprised how you would have spotted this bloke. The camouflage technique of the spider is shown to perfection and you have photographed it very well. This is a really great example for a perfect camouflage! Perfect sharpness of the whole shot and details of the spider. Great work.
Best regards
Aaltjie and Hettie

Hello Anna,

Great capture.
Lighting and composition are excellent.
Good notes.

  • Great 
  • erve Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 96 W: 3 N: 131] (620)
  • [2008-12-15 11:35]

Wow what a find. To be the first person to post a photo of this species anywhere on the internet is quite something.
Personally i hate spiders! But this is a fine photo and a very informative note.
Good sharpness and DOF, and a very good spot!



Wow! This is a spendid and very unique picture Anna!
I like a lot POV and natural habitat - arachnid is almost invisible!
Great documentary picture, especially that there is not too many pictures of African invertebrates :)
Greetings from Poland,

Dearest friend,
Thanks so much for adding your brilliant photo to the theme "camouflage"

It is amazing, because in the thumb-nail I could not see the spider!

You show clean, sharp lines of the spider, and still it is not visible! How did you do it? What is the trick?

You were a good photographer, when I joined TN, but now you are amazing.

Thanks for your contribution

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