5 Spiders That Can Hide in Plain Sight

dustaway, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
dustaway, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0 / dustaway, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Arachnid adaptation is a beautiful thing. Rather than chase down prey, spiders often use visual trickery to lure their insect meals into a false sense of security and to keep their own predators at bay. Take a look at some of the best camouflage on the web.


Ettore Balocchi, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Before you stop and smell the flowers, consider that some might harbor a crab spider that’s changed colors to match the petals. Found in North America and Europe, Misumena vatia will blend in with its background and wait for prey like butterflies or bees to come along, grabbing the food with its front legs and injecting venom.


Bernard DUPONT, Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0

Known as the Lichen Huntsman, this spider is found in Australia and surrounding islands. It can’t change color on demand—but it can find bark or another background that’s close in color to its own appearance, then sit still and wait for some poor sucker to come around. With eyes in the front, top, and back of its head, it can also see you coming from practically anywhere. Click here to see it in action.


Katja Schulz, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This is not an ant. This is a spider that looks very much like an ant and mimics ant behavior, waving its front legs like antennae. P. picata has even developed a counter to ants being able to detect each other’s scent: It doesn’t really smell like anything at all, a ploy called chemical insignificance. Surprisingly, it doesn’t use this trait to devour other ants, but to avoid visual predators that consider the ants unpalatable.


dustaway, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Known as the wrap-around spider, D. conifera can wrap itself around tree limbs and flatten out its body so it’s almost indistinguishable from its botanical hangout. The ability is due in large part to its concave belly, which allows it to hug round branches.


Jean and Fred, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

One highly effective way to avoid being eaten is to resemble a pile of poop. Celaenia excavata, or the bird-dropping spider, bears a strong resemblance to avian dung. The camouflage is so effective that C. excavata will leave itself in vulnerable and exposed positions during the day, confident no predator will opt to munch on feces when there are more appealing options around.