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A Guide to Common Singapore Spiders
by Joseph K H Koh
  White-Moustached Portia
Portia labiata (Thorell) 1887
close up of female showing large eyes
The band of white hairs on the clypeus is characteristic of females in this species.

The spider invades the webs of other spiders and devours the occupants, their eggs or spiderlings.
Classification: Family Salticidae, Jumping Spiders
Habitat: Waste-land, secondary forests.
Female: 6-9 mm.
Male: 5-7 mm.
Distribution: Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India.
The female spins a sheet web supported by a loose tangle of silk. The spider hangs upside down on the platform when it rests at night. Moulting of juvenile female P. labiata takes place in the web, after which the spider abandons the web, leaving the cast skin in it. Eggs are wrapped in a pinkish egg sac which is suspended in the web and guarded by the mother (by sitting on it) until the 50-70 spiderlings hatch out about 18 days later. Spiderlings are able to spin webs one to two days after hatching.

close-up of spider looking like a lump of debrisPortia labiata are long-legged Jumping Spider, recognised by conspicuous fans of hairs on the legs, and ornate tufts of hairs on the body, especially on the abdomen. These features distort the body outline and enhance its resemblance to a lump of debris, especially when it folds its first three pairs of legs close to the body in its normal resting position. The camouflage is further enhanced by behavioural modifications: they walk in a slow and deliberate manner. Rushing about like other Jumping Spiders would have defeated the purpose of camouflaging itself as a piece of detritus.
close-up of face
Face of Phaeacius
These unusual Jumping Spiders of the sub-family Spartaeinae have a different eye arrangement compared to other Jumping Spiders. Whereas the posterior median eyes (i.e., the eyes in the second row) of most Jumping Spiders are tiny, there is a category of Jumping Spiders whose posterior median eyes are fairly big. These include spiders in the genera Cocalus, Phaeacius, Portia and Spartaeus.
  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