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Abracadabrella elegans (L. Koch, 1879) Elegant Fly Mimic

A small to medium, flattish jumping spider with large, bulging, black-shiny 'eyes' on the rear of the abdomen, found mostly in Queensland, especially warmer parts, on vegetation and under the bark of gum trees. Specimens have been sighted at Darwin, NT, Wooloolga, Gosford and Grafton NSW. A western Queensland species from Birdsville and a South Australian species from Lewiston have been documented. Spiders in genus Abracadabrella appear to mimic flies or similar insects. They have been observed walking backwards, apparently enhancing the mimicry affect. From the rear the appearance of 'eyes' and 'nose' of an insect appears very convincing, at least to us. Arachnologists generally favour the fly-mimicking theory, but entomologists, especially those studying flies, are not convinced. They cannot see an advantage in mimicking flies specifically and suggest predators are probably confused by a generic 'large-animal' appearance. This is common also in insects like moths and butterflies which have large black eye-like shapes on their wings. Predators may be wary of attacking what appears to be an animal face on (in plain sight) and confused when the spider, which can see in all directions, jumps in an entirely unexpected direction. It is rather flat and most like Afraflacilla in appearance, but probably not closely related. Urogelides is also similar in form but its palp is quite unlike that of Abracadabrella. ♀ 4.5mm ♂ 3.5mm

Male from Townsville, AUS-481


Abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Robert Whyte

Male from Grafton, NSW AUS-594


Abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Robert Whyte

Female from Darwin AUS-728


abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Robert Whyte

Mareeba, QLD AUS-1405


Abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Iain R. Macaulay

Female from Darwin, NT AUS-2173


Abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Iain R. Macaulay

Epigyne, palp and dentition


Abracadabrella elegans
Photo: Robert Whyte

References


  • Zabka, 1991 - Salticidae (Arachnida: Araneae) of Oriental, Australian and Pacific Regions, VII. Mopsolodes, Abracadabrella and Pseudosynagelides - new genera from Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 30(3): 62 1-644. Brisbane. ISSN 0079- 8835
 

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