National Geographic : 1991 Sep
Camouflage takes Phyaces comosus on covert missions, in filtrating the nests of other jumpers to eat their young. About two milli meters in size, a Phyaces (above, at right) looks like a barely animated piece of dirt, even to the all-eyes mother Epeus guarding her nest. As Phyaces prepares to devour an egg, the female seems alert but con fused, since even Phyaces'slow, ir regular movements add to the guise of windblown dust. If pretense fails, Phyaces'great tufts of hair give a fall back defense. Fangs aimed at the little jumper pierce that hair, not flesh. Its prey captured, a Phyaces (right top) appears to toy with a hatchling much the way a cat plays with a mouse. Resident of bam boo, individual Phyaces may dis pute each other. When females meet on a stem (right middle), one flashes colorful underarm patches and drives the other spider off. The lives of jumpers seem fran tic, but Ptocasius of Singapore (right), like most jumpers, spins a nighttime shelter, here by securing leaves with bolts of silk.