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by Joseph K H Koh
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Where to find spiders
catching spiders with a headlampIt is often said that "spiders can be found everywhere" but many Singaporeans still find the more common spiders elusive.

hersilia well camouflaged against barkMany of these spiders have escaped attention for two reasons: first, they live in places normally ignored by the casual collector; second, they have developed successful strategies to hide and camouflage themselves against their natural enemies (like Hersilia sp. left). These strategies work just as successfully with the ignorant spider collector.

You may collect a much greater variety of spiders if you know their ecological niche and make a special effort to look for them there, e.g., at neglected corners of houses, on tree trunks, under bridges, stilted buildings, fallen logs and stones or on the edges of streams, ponds and mangrove swamps. Many hide in a folded leaf, or between leaves fastened with silk, whereas others live inconspicuously in the webs of larger spiders (e.g., Argyrodes argentatus). A few wait in ambush of their prey on flower petals, or inside pitcher plants.(e.g., Misumenops nepenthicola).
arachnura
phyrunarachneYou will also need to be alert to the tactics adopted by spiders to deceive their enemies so that you will not be fooled yourself. Some of them camouflage themselves as a broken twig (Arachnura sp., right), a piece of detritus or bird-dropping (Phyrunarachne sp., left) or as part of the rubbish accumulated in a spider web.

myrmarachne maxillosa Some live near ant colonies, look like ants and may be dismissed as ants, if you do not make a special effort to check whether they are really ants! (Myrmarachne maxillosa, left).

It pays to go spider hunting at night as many spiders are nocturnal. A headlamp will be most useful.
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