ZooLogger: Mustache Helps Spider Catch More Prey

Species: The brown huntsman spider (Heteropoda venatoria)
Habitat: Lurks on the ground, tree trunks and rocks, and runs out to overpower prey in the tropics

Much can be said about the value of having a moustache – but one spider makes a living from it. The brown huntsman (Heteropoda venatoria) sports a fine white moustache that can be seen at night and lures in food.

It hunts at night. It lies in wait until its prey draws near. Then it runs out, sometimes jumping when its victim is close enough. Although it is quite big as far as spiders go – up to about 10 cm wide including its legs – there is still a limit to how far it can run and still catch fleeing prey. Any adaptation that draws in its quarry should thus mean more food.

The spider’s conspicuous moustache-like bristles are located below its eyes, forming a whitish stripe on its head that reflects light differently from the rest of the body at night.  I-Min Tso and his team from Tunghai University, Taiwan, conducted field experiments to test whether the huntsman’s moustache was a lure…

(read more: New Scientist)

photograph by Premaphotos/Alamy