This Spider Masquerades as a Fallen Leaf to Avoid Predators

Poltys mouhoti, aka the Rolled-up Leaf Spider, is a fascinating arachnid that uses incredible camouflage to protect itself from predators during the day.

Native to Vietnam, but also spotted in other Asian countries like Cambodia, Thailand or Malaysia, the aptly-named rolled-up leaf spider is part of the Poltys genus of spiders, which numbers 43 known sub-species, most of which have this amazing ability to mimic plant parts as a self-defense mechanism. They accomplish this by tucking their legs in towards their abdomen, and extending a long, stem-like appendage outward. Even their body has a brown and green coloration and a shape reminiscent of a broken branch, which enhances the camouflage even more.

Photo: Bernard DUPONT/Flickr

Interestingly, the rolled-up leaf spider apparently only uses its impressive mimicry as a way to avoid predators, during the day, as it has its another strategy for catching prey. The arachnid is only active at night, when it builds an orb web to catch other insects. The web is consumed at dawn and rebuilt after sunset.


Seeing the Poltys mouhoti spider in its active form is exciting in its own way, as it really looks like some alien creature from a sci-fi horror film. It doesn’t look like any spider I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.


For more examples of impressive natural camouflage, check out the Malayan leaf frog, this caterpillar that mimics a scary skull, or the rolled-up leaf moth.