Australian Finds Weird-looking ‘Sushi-Spider’ on Stairs

April 26, 2019 Updated: April 26, 2019

A picture of a colorful spider left internet users baffled, horrified, and reaching for the animal encyclopedia after a man stumbled on the weird-looking creature on the stairs of his Sydney home.

William Williamson posted a picture to a community Facebook group, according to the Daily Mail, hoping for help identifying the creature.

The spider, with its green blotches and salmon-pink flecks on a white background, was quickly dubbed the “sushi-spider” by some commenters.

Time to burn the house down đŸ˜±đŸ˜±đŸ˜±

Posted by Daily Mail on Thursday, April 25, 2019

 “Time to burn the house down,” wrote one commenter. 

Another added, “At first glance, I thought this was a piece of sushi.”

Sushi rice (Pixabay)
“Is this what Easter bunny or dog spat out? Yuk,” another person wrote, reported News.com.au. 

According to the news outlet the spider was eventually identified as a Magnificent Spider.

“The female magnificent spider is very distinctive in its markings,” according to the Australian Museum website.  “It is white with two bright yellow knobs on its abdomen, and a number of salmon-colored spots and blotches as well. The body and limbs are covered with long fine hairs, especially the forelegs.”

They are not dangerous—and they don’t spin webs to catch their prey.

The females can grow up to 2.5 cm (one inch) in length, but the males only reach a tiny fraction of that size: around 1.4 mm (0.05 inches)

The magnificent spider is one of three species of bolas spider. The name is taken from a South American throwing weapon made of rope and weights—the bolas—and refers to the way they lure prey with a sticky globule on the end of a line of silk.

A bolas spider (Pixabay)

“This sticky silk globule may contain pheromones that mimic the scent of a certain female noctuid moth species, attracting unwary male moths within range,” according to the museum.

The spider senses the vibrations of moth’s wings and twirls the thread as the moth approaches.

“The moth eventually flutters close enough to be hit by and become stuck to the globule. The spider then pulls up the strand, bites and immobilizes the moth, and either eats it straight away or stores it for later, wrapped in silk.”

Bolas spiders are so sensitive to vibrations that they can be coaxed into twirling their snare by plucking guitar strings.

But whereas bolas spiders hunt moths, the larger invertebrates can even take on mammals.

Earlier this year, footage emerged of tarantula the size of a dinner plate dragging a young opossum across the leaf-littered floor of the Amazon jungle.

The grizzly encounter, documented for the first time, featured in a journal article that showcases attacks on small mammals by arthropods—mostly spiders—witnessed by zoologists in the Peruvian jungle.

A couple of times a year, biologists from the University of Michigan take a trip to Peru to study predator-prey interactions, often at night, when the ambush predators come to life.

One night, researcher Michael Grundler “heard some scrabbling in the leaf litter.”

“We looked over and we saw a large tarantula on top of an opossum,” said Grundler, a co-author of the paper in a statement. “The opossum had already been grasped by the tarantula and was still struggling weakly at that point, but after about 30 seconds it stopped kicking.”

Grundler’s sister Maggie pulled out her cellphone and shot photos and some video.

The encounter was one of the cases featured in an article published in Amphibian & Reptile Conservation.

The tarantula was the size of a dinner plate, and the young mouse opossum was about the size of a softball, according to a university statement.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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