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Leaf at first sight: how leaf-curling spiders pair up and build a family home

By Jess Marsh, Research fellow at the Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University
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Have you recently spotted a spider peeking out from a brown, curled-up leaf in your garden?

Chances are you’re sharing your yard with the leaf-curling spider, Phonognatha graeffei (pronounced fon-og-natha greef-e-i), a fascinating member of the orb-weaving spider family Araneidae (pronounced aran-ee-i-dee).

This spider – found in each state and territory in Australia – builds its orb web in plants and places in it a special custom-built hiding spot: a curled up leaf.

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