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That's No Leaf — It's A Spider!

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+18 more 
posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:07 AM
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Matjaz Kuntner of the Smithsonian Institution and the Evolutionary Zoology Laboratory in Slovenia was on a night hike through China's Yunnan rain forest when the glint of his headlamp off a thread of silk caused him to pause for a closer inspection. Following the thread, he discovered one end appeared to be affixed to a "leaf" which turned out not to be a leaf at all.



This Never Before Seen Spider Looks Like a Leaf


“I was so taken aback.”

That's because Kuntner and colleagues suspect they've found a new species of orb-weaving spider—and the first one known to mimic a leaf.





Like these leaves, the spider is brownish green in color, with a long necklike structure connecting its head and chest to its abdomen. Its teardrop-shaped body even has markings that resemble the veins on a leaf.

“Its disguise is so good that it might explain why so few of these spiders have been collected. Even trained scientists have a hard time spotting them,” Kuntner adds.

Speaking of, Kuntner and colleagues have only found two leaf-mimicking spiders so far: The adult female observed on the evening hike, and a juvenile found a few days later. (Read about a plant that looks like poop and other sneaky disguises.)

Preliminary genetic data hinted that these two specimens might be a new species, but more work has to be done to confirm that, he says.




That's a sneaky spider. Given so few specimens and a lack of research into the arachnid's behaviors, the scientists aren't sure if its camouflage is strictly for defense or if it plays a role in catching prey.
edit on 2016-11-17 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



+5 more 
posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:16 AM
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*Sets fire to this thread and runs*


I'm never going outside again.

-Alee



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:17 AM
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No. Just NO!

It is bad enough that they are so sneaky, they seem to just "appear" out of nowhere, especially overhead, now they come in camouflage?


Thank you for the nightmares.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:21 AM
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Awesome arachnid.

How venomous is this thing? (I'm guessing they probably don't know yet).

Just playing the odds, its venom is probably not medically significant, but ya never know.
edit on 17-11-2016 by Greggers because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:21 AM
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Very cool, so much left to discover ..if we do not destroy it first.
I keep tarantula's so I find this stuff very interesting.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:21 AM
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Welp, WAS planning on taking the kids out for some fall leaf collecting / arts and crafts stuff.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:21 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

How interesting!

I thought crab spiders were fascinating but, this evolutionary feat takes things to the next level.

Thanks for sharing this.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:30 AM
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You know what really gets me about these types of glorious creatures? How the hell does a spider DNA know what a Leaf cell structure looks like, and is like ahh yeah we'll go with that. That will work wonders for this guy. ?!?!?! Nature, how you so smart yo?

-Alee
edit on 11/17/2016 by NerdGoddess because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:36 AM
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and yet were searching for life billions of light years away when were still discovering life in our own world...
the never ending slush fund that is NASA...



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:39 AM
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a reply to: NerdGoddess


I'm never going outside again.


I don't know if I'd go quite that far (and I telecommute, so it's technically possible, not maritally improbably) but I have absolutely not plans to go on a night hike in any rainforest anywhere, ever.
edit on 2016-11-17 by theantediluvian because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:41 AM
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I just puked in my mouth a little bit. Now leave's can be spiders!!!
Nope nuh uh unacceptable.

Star none the less. Unless you created them? Then a plague be set upon you.
edit on 17-11-2016 by SPHARAOH because: Rump kissing??? Added stuff



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:41 AM
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originally posted by: odzeandennz
and yet were searching for life billions of light years away when were still discovering life in our own world...
the never ending slush fund that is NASA...


And the non sequiter award of the day goes to...



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:41 AM
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a reply to: theantediluvian

Pussy hide and seek spider . Counted to ten and buggered if i could find it . Kind of cool though .

edit on 17-11-2016 by hutch622 because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:45 AM
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originally posted by: NerdGoddess
You know what really gets me about these types of glorious creatures? How the hell does a spider DNA know what a Leaf cell structure looks like, and is like ahh yeah we'll go with that. That will work wonders for this guy. ?!?!?! Nature, how you so smart yo?

-Alee


It starts with an accidental mutation that allows the animal to blend in with its environment. This accidental genetic camouflage would be unlikely to so closely resemble a leaf after the initial mutation, yet gave the creature an advantage over spiders without the mutation. Over millions of years, that particular spider is more successful and passes its genetics on more often, and every time there is another mutation that brings it closer to blending in with its environment, that mutation is selected for by the natural threats and opportunities in the environment itself, until eventually we end up with this thing.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:46 AM
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originally posted by: NerdGoddess
You know what really gets me about these types of glorious creatures? How the hell does a spider DNA know what a Leaf cell structure looks like, and is like ahh yeah we'll go with that. That will work wonders for this guy. ?!?!?! Nature, how you so smart yo?

-Alee

Ask the tardigrade!


First author Thomas Boothby, Goldstein and their collaborators revealed that tardigrades acquire about 6,000 foreign genes primarily from bacteria, but also from plants, fungi and Archaea, through a process called horizontal gene transfer – the swapping of genetic material between species as opposed to inheriting DNA exclusively from mom and dad.

Previously another microscopic animal called the rotifer was the record-holder for having the most foreign DNA, but it has about half as much as the tardigrade. For comparison, most animals have less than one percent of their genome from foreign DNA.

Nice to see you back in full swing, ante.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 11:51 AM
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Eeeeek! *boot stomp*

That would have been my reaction not "gee, I guess we have a new species here".

Nonetheless, pretty cool discovery! Nice to know that there are still discoveries being made on land like this. Thanks for the show and tell!

Man, China has everything! Giant pandas, giant wind/solar farm being hooked up to giant batteries, giant spiders that look like leaves...



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 12:41 PM
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originally posted by: Greggers
It starts with an accidental mutation that allows the animal to blend in with its environment. This accidental genetic camouflage would be unlikely to so closely resemble a leaf after the initial mutation, yet gave the creature an advantage over spiders without the mutation.


Accidental? What makes you say that? This type of masquerading happens with several other species of spider and other insects and animals. Makes it seem far from accidental.


originally posted by: Greggers
Over millions of years, that particular spider is more successful and passes its genetics on more often, and every time there is another mutation that brings it closer to blending in with its environment, that mutation is selected for by the natural threats and opportunities in the environment itself, until eventually we end up with this thing.

Wow, now that's a very nice story. But unfortunately it's not one rooted in science, just plain conjecture - at least as it pertains to this species. Unless of course someone can provide the study that's examined the dynamics of this creature in it's environment, mating habits, predation etc, as well as it's genetic make up. Would be helpful to know how many mutations it took for this Poltys to look and behave exactly like a leaf of it's environment. Which gene[s] is involved, phylogenetic history, selection signatures (if there any) and so forth. Otherwise what you said has no real basis in science I'm afraid. It sounds good though.
edit on 17-11-2016 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 01:05 PM
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Cool spider indeed.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 01:24 PM
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originally posted by: chiefsmom
No. Just NO!

It is bad enough that they are so sneaky, they seem to just "appear" out of nowhere, especially overhead, now they come in camouflage?


Thank you for the nightmares.

Wasnt that " Welcome to my Nightmare" Alice Cooper
"If I may put forth a slice of personal philosophy , mankind has ruled this earth as a stumbling , demented child-king long enough.And as his empires crumble , my precious black widow shall rise as his most fitting successor"

Vincent Price intro to the above song....

To the OP. At last , something I can S&F . Weird find.



posted on Nov, 17 2016 @ 01:30 PM
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originally posted by: NerdGoddess
You know what really gets me about these types of glorious creatures? How the hell does a spider DNA know what a Leaf cell structure looks like, and is like ahh yeah we'll go with that. That will work wonders for this guy. ?!?!?! Nature, how you so smart yo?

-Alee

A lot of spiders that didn't QUITE look like a leaf died to make that species of a spider a reality. Evolution is actually really brutal.
edit on 17-11-2016 by Krazysh0t because: (no reason given)




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