Tree Stump Spider (Poltys illepidus) – a camouflage Master!

The world is a dangerous place for a small spider, so they hide from it. The better I can hide there, the better I can spot them. When I am in a city of a human zoo, badly suffocated by the concreate jungle, I look for a jungle to breathe in.

This time, my intention was something different than my previous venture into an unknown biodiversity. I packed up my gear for night adventure to a place surrounded by hills and forest in winter.

I am as always fascinated by the amazing small wonders. My hungry eyes were very sincere. The initial day of my journey was nicely welcomed by camouflage master ‘Tree Stump Spider (Poltys illepidus)’.

Poltys is an amazing spider recognized by its widely separated lateral eyes, pear-shaped carapace and ‘stalk’ of the pear is an eye tubercle. This species makes a fawn/grey egg sac which is attached to a dead twig.

Poltys species is very clever. They can nicely camouflage when resting on bark surfaces or on dry twigs and has excellent masking colours. Typically, the upper surface of the abdomen has a sharp projection on each side, and when the spider is sitting with legs drawn up tightly against the carapace the overall effect is that of a broken stick. They are very good at hiding and most of the time you won't know it is there!

Poltys build large vertical orb web at every night. They pack-up and consume the web after used, smartly hide on the tree during the day. I could monitor their activities after the sunset only! Moths are the most frequent prey. They are not aggressive and their venom is harmless to humans.

Here are some interesting field study reports: They less likely move between web sites. Sometimes occupy the same, or a closely adjacent web site for few months. Most often they move during spring and summer but often remain in the same site throughout winter.

I never met with this small wonder before. I enjoyed my trip with this hide and seek game of Mother Nature.


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