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Family: Araneidae (Orb-weavers)
Size: Male body size 5 to 6 mm, female body size 8 to 12 mm
Distribution: Woodlands and urban areas in the north-eastern, eastern and southern states of Australia.
Habitat: The spider is distinguished by having a curled leaf at the centre of its web, in which it shelters. The species form pairs living together in the same leaf, though at opposite ends of their shelter, even before mating at maturity. The female creates a separate curled leaf "nursery" hung in foliage nearby.
About the Leaf-Curling Spider
Although living together inside the one leaf sounds unusually romantic for spiders, females may cannibalise cohabiting males, independently of whether the female has had food.
Note that dead spiders usually fade in colour, so nearly all the spiders will look blacker or darker in colour in real life than they do in the photos of dead spiders from the museum.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2200 x 1624.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2592 x 1836.
Photo taken at Australian Museum, Sydney. High Resolution 2534 x 2429.
Photo by Mjoyce. Phonognatha graeffei - Leaf curling spider. High Resolution 2336 x 3504.
A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia, by Robert Whyte and Greg Anderson.
This is my favourite field guide to Australian spiders. It has a proper index. It has amazing photographs. If I had to find a weak point of it, it would be that there are so many photos that there is less writing than there could have been. I like photos though so it's all good. 464 pages.
From the publisher, "A Field Guide to Spiders of Australia uses photographs of live animals to enable identification of commonly encountered spiders to the family level and, in some cases, to genus and species. Featuring over 1300 colour photographs, it is the most comprehensive account of Australian spiders ever published. With more than two-thirds of Australian spiders yet to be scientifically described, this book sets the scene for future explorations of our extraordinary Australian fauna."
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australian leaf spiders