This marvellous Twig-mimicking Orb-weaver (Poltys noblei) convinces the world, but especially birds, that it is a twig. In the image (above) the spider’s eye-stalk protrudes downwards between its medial four legs at the bottom, whilst the four hind legs bunch up in bi-lateral compartments that parallel the proximal end of the superior face of its abdomen. Silk blends the spider’s colour along the end of the ‘real’ twig, to help the spider camouflage itself, and in an extended continuation of the branch, remains motionless all day to protect itself from the keen eyes of hungry birds.
At night, once the sun has set and darkness reigns, the spider transforms from its twig-mimicry into a master orb-weaver, constructing a magnificent two-dimensional wheel-web in a remarkably short period of time, where it occupies the central position holding the silken orb under tension to collect food in the form of flying insects for the duration of the night. At the first hint of sunrise, the spider collects its silk, ingests it all and repositions as a twig for the duration of the day.
Three different species of Poltys have been found at Cooper Creek Wilderness with the Twig-stump Orb-weaver (Poltys Laciniosus) and the Tree-stump Orb-weaver (Poltys illepidus):