Wednesday, March 26, 2014

'Surprised' spider was probably not surprised

An Australian arachnid expert says a spider filmed in the Queensland’s northern tropics appearing to be surprised by the camera could have been reacting to its own reflection.

Owen Seeman from the Queensland Museum said the male Northern Green Jumping Spider was probably not surprised, but posturing when it saw what it thought was another male spider in the lens’ reflection. In the footage filmed by an amateur photographer, the spider approaches the camera, then appears taken aback and on edge as the camera follows its moves.

The reaction has led to the arachnid being dubbed the ‘surprised spider’. But Mr Seeman said it most likely wasn’t surprised. “What happens with these spiders is that they have some of the best vision of any of the animal kingdom. Their telescopic vision is magnificent. What they see when you get a camera is a spider looking back at them in the lens and it’s another male spider.”

YouTube link.

He said the spider could have been “agitated” by seeing a rival male and this may have led to the spider’s curious behaviour. “If you set up a mirror in front of one of these spiders, they’ll put on their aggressive displays that they show to another male.” Mr Seeman said the Northern Green Jumping Spider is quite common from northern New South Wales all the up the east coast of Queensland.

There's a news video with an explanation by Mr Seeman here.

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