Wrap-Around Spiders Are Nearly Impossible To Spot Before It’s Too Late

The wrap-around spider is named for its ability to flatten and wrap its body around tree limbs as camouflage. Perfect camouflage.

Known as wrap-around spiders, Dolophones is a genus of spider found primarily in Western Australia that has perfected the art of camouflage. The 17 species in the genus are known for their ability to blend seamlessly into their surroundings by flattening against a tree branch and literally wrap around it.

The upper abdomen of most dolophones is shaped like an inverted disk and is made up of smaller disks with slits in them. This allows the spider to perfectly wrap itself around twigs during the day, fooling potential predators like wasps and birds. At night, it comes out to do some spider stuff like spinning webs in between the trees. Before the sun comes up, however, it will destroy its web and take its position on a branch once more to hide out for the coming day.

So yes, if you make a habit out of grabbing random tree branches in the bush on an afternoon, you are indeed at risk of getting a shock from a wrap-around spider. But don’t worry – apparently their venom isn’t harmful to humans.

Also, they are pretty small animals: females typically measure about 9 mm in length with males significantly smaller at around 5-6 mm. And that makes them even more difficult to spot…

Photo: dustaway (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Finally, here’s what the wrap-around spider looks like when it’s not wrapping around things:

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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