Researchers propose decaying food remains in spider webs confuse would-be predators
Picked-over carcasses as home decor attract the wrong kind of attention, even among spiders, researchers say. But the decorations may work well as decoys.
Cyclosa mulmeinensis spiders tie old bits of prey onto their webs. Many spiders add extra features, mostly of silk, to their webs, and biologists are still debating what functions the apparent decorations serve.
About 950 hours of video of C. mulmeinensis spider webs in natural conditions show that webs generously decorated with food bits draw extra visits from predatory paper wasps, report I-Min Tso and Ling Tseng of Tunghai University in Taichung, Taiwan.