The full size of a Leaf Curling
Spider is the size of a 50 cent piece. The size of one leg is like a
pin. They have a brown body and a creamy yellow abdomen and pale
markings. The scientific name for the Leaf Curling Spider is
Phonognatha graeffei. Normally the female's size is about 8mm and
the male about 5mm. This species has eight eyes on its cephalothorax,
(spiders don't have heads). The Leaf Curling Spider is an Orb Weaving
Spider which means it makes a symmetrical web.
Most Leaf Curling Spiders are most common
in Summer and they are found in southern areas of Australia. This
species constructs a typical orb web and locates at or near the centre
of a dead leaf which is curled to conceal the spider. The web-lined leaf
conceals the spider during the day but at night the spider leaves its
shelter to consume prey which has become entangled in the web. The
spider may construct its web in almost any foliage and sometimes several
webs may be found in the one small area.
Venom: The Leaf Curling
Spider's bite gives mild local pain. This species of spider does not
appear to be harmful. It can kill larger insects than itself. To humans,
the bite causes itching and swelling.
Prey: This spider
constructs a web during the night and many small creatures such as
aphids, ants, mosquiotes, small grasshoppers and lady beetles which get
caught in this net of silk, are immobilised by the spider and its body
fluids are eaten. The web is cut away so that it is not present
the next morning.
During mating, the male spider visits the boundary of the orb web
of the female spider. The egg sacs are made of loose silk thread in the
centre of which, the eggs are located. Spiderlings survive weeks without
food. When conditions improve, they spin a long thread of silk on which
they are carried away and contruct a typical web.
Conclusion: The Leaf
Curling Spider is one of nature's expert builders. This spider could be
called one of the engineers of the animal world.
Pictures used with permission: Ken Walker
Victorian Spiders page:
and Ed Nieuwenhuys:
and pictures were taken from children's projects and where credited to that
child does not claim to be original information. Where possible, permission
to reproduce has been sought. Any infringement of copyright is purely
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