Magnificent Bolas Spider
(previously known as Dicrostichus magnificus)
ARANEIDAE , ARANEAE , ARACHNIDA
(Photo: courtesy of Jenny Hogg, Tuross, New South Wales)
These are like soft spindly cocoons with a length, tip to tip, of about 8 cms. They usually hang in groups of 3 to 5 under trees. Actually they are the egg sacs of one species of spider: Ordgarius magnificus. The spider is only about 1.5 cms long.
These spiders are quite amazing. They catch their prey by creating a line of silk with a sticky blob on the end, then swinging it round and round. They emit the pheromones of some female moths to attract the male moths within range of their bolas, catching the moths rather like the Incas hunted game and the gauchos of Argentina catch their cattle.
Descriptions of some new Araneidae of New South Wales. No. 8,
Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
Volume 22 (1897), pp. 523-524.
(written 16 May 2013, updated 9 February 2018)