Chin’s Nature Corner

Crab spider with prey
A crab spider (possibly a Misumenops sp.) with insect prey (a bee) on water jasmine flower.

Bird-dung Crab Spider
Spiders on the Web

SPIDERS can be found just about anywhere in Malaysia ... inside houses or buildings, especially those that are neglected or abandoned, in the garden or backyard, in the hedges, in the rice fields or among vegetation beside ponds and lakes, in the belukar, or overgrown patch, and in the forest fringe or even deep in the forest. There are spiders which look obviously like spiders, and spiders in various forms of disguises ... namely spiders that look like bits of forest detritus, spiders which look like ants, and even spiders that mimic bird droppings like the one in this photo. The Bird-dung Crab Spider (Phrynarachne species) not only looks like bird excrement splattered on a leaf but also smells like it. Thus it is not only protected from birds which will avoid preying on it but is itself a lure for insects, such as butterflies, which feed on bird droppings. Here are some of the spider species that I have photographed during my forest trekking days.

Multi-Coloured St. Andrew's Cross Spider

Multi-Coloured St. Andrew's Cross Spider (Argiope versicolor, Family Araneidae) ~ This spider weaves a web marked with distinctive zig-zag bands of white silk (partly seen in the lower right corner of this photo). It is also known as the Signature Spider because of this. The spider holds its legs together in pairs, making it look like a creature with four legs instead of eight.
Crab Spider

Crab Spider (Family Thomisidae) ~ Crab spiders catch their prey by ambush. Often aided by camouflage colouring, they lie in wait on flower heads for nectar-feeding insects. Like this brush-footed butterfly (called the Leopard, Phalanta phalantha), these insects may be much larger than the spider but they are soon paralysed with a venomous bite from the spider's fangs.
Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider (Family Salticidae) ~ Unlike web- weaving spiders which trap flying insects in their webs, or crab spiders which ambush their prey, jumping spiders actively hunt for food. This one had just caught a mango hopper (Idioscopus nitidulus, a species of leafhopper belonging to the family Cicadellidae).
Spiny-backed Spider

Spider eats insect ~ Whoopy! This Spiny-backed Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) proceeded to stun its prey by injecting it with venom from its fangs, a winged insect, perhaps a moth, that it had captured in its web. The Spiny-backed Spider has projections which curve over its back like a pair of horns. It belongs to the Family Araneidae.
Spider eats spider

Spider eats spider ~ Jumping spiders prey not only on insects but also on other spider species. This one was seen with a Spiny-backed Spider (Gasteracantha arcuata) it had captured. The Spiny-backed Spider has projections which curve over its back like a pair of horns. It is also known as the Horned Spider.
Wolf Spider

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) ~ If you see a spider carrying an egg-sac under its abdomen, as in the photo above, you can be sure that it's a female wolf spider. The egg-case is attached to the spinnarets and appears quite round. The newly hatched baby spiders may also be seen riding on the mothers back until their first moult.
Kerengga Ant-like Jumper, female Kerengga Ant-like Jumper, male

The Kerengga Ant-like Jumper (Myrmarachne plataleoides) ~ There are many ant-mimicking species among the jumping spiders (Salticidae). So far I managed to photograph only the Kerengga Ant-like Jumper. This species mimics the ferocious Weaver Ant, which is locally known as kerengga (in Malay). The female spider (left) is a near-perfect copy of the ant, but the male's disguise is somewhat spoilt by his large chelicerae (jaws) which protrude from the head like an oversized nose.

This page revised on June 18, 2019. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.