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A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders
by Joseph K H Koh
  Bird-Dung Crab Spider
Phrynarachne sp.
 
close-up of black warty  spider
Female
The blobs and warts over the thick and somewhat glazed body surface give the "wet" and "lumpy" look of a piece of fresh bird excrement.
Classification: Family Thomisidae, Crab Spiders
Habitat: Undergrowth at forest fringes.
Female: 10 mm.
The spider reinforces the simulation of bird-droppings by drawing its legs close to the body and lying motionless on a leaf for long hours.
It sometimes sits on a small patch of white silk, which can be mistaken for the white stain caused by the bird-dung when it is splashed on the leaf. Some Phyrnarachne spiders emit a pronounced smell of faeces or urine. The sight and smell of bird-dropping may be a clever device to attract and ambush flies.

Crab spiders move sideways, like crabs. The body is not as hairy as in most spiders. They are slow-moving spiders which do not actively hunt like Wolf Spiders. Instead, they remain stationary and await in ambush for some unsuspecting insects to land in front of them.

The first two pairs of legs in most Crab Spiders are longer and heavier than the third and fourth pairs, and are armed with spines for holding and grasping prey.
  From "A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders" by Joseph K. H. Koh
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre and sponsored by British Petroleum
© 2000 Joseph K H Koh