Celaenia spCommon Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata)

The genus Celaenia are a group of spiders with an amazing form of mimicry, their camouflage allows them to look like bird dropping, hence their common name Bird-dropping Spider. This not only hides them from prey, but allows them to get close enough to capture prey.

Celaenia sp, Patonga NSW © Michael Doe
Celaenia sp, Patonga NSW © Michael Doe

The Bird-dropping Spider are known to hang from the edge of a leaf or twig on a short silk thread with its forelegs outstretched. Some species will release a chemical scent (pheromone) that mimics the sex pheromone released by female moths to attract their mates, enabling the spider to capture the prey.

The Celaenia species are found in western, eastern and southern Australia, in all states and territory, including Tasmania and even Central Australia

Common Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata), Belair National Park SA © Marianne Broug
Common Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata), Belair National Park SA © Marianne Broug

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Arachnida
  • Order: Araneae
  • Infraorder: Araneomorphae
  • Family: Araneidae
  • Genus: Celaenia
  • Species:
    • Celaenia atkinsoni (O.P.-Cambridge, 1879)
    • Celaenia calotoides Rainbow, 1908
    • Celaenia distincta (O.P.-Cambridge, 1869)
    • Celaenia dubia (O.P.-Cambridge, 1869)
    • Celaenia excavata (L. Koch, 1867)
    • Celaenia hectori ( O. Pickard-Cambridge , 1879)
    • Celaenia olivacea ( Urquhart , 1885)
    • Celaenia penna ( Urquhart , 1887)
    • Celaenia tuberosa ( Urquhart , 1889)
    • Celaenia tumidosa Urquhart, 1891
    • Celaenia voraginosa Urquhart, 1891

Footnote & References

  1. Photographs Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia sp) © Michael Doe
  2. Photographs Common Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata) © Deb Taylor
  3. Celaenia Thorell, 1868, Alas of Living Australia, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/https://biodiversity.org.au/afd/taxa/66854497-765e-4826-805c-4fb4f31a4a8d

Celaenia spCommon Bird-dropping Spider (Celaenia excavata)

SpidersIndex of Spider Images Spiders in Australia Araneidae — Orb Weavers Arkys Australian Huntsman Spider Barking Spider Black House Spider Carepalxis sp Celaenia sp Crab Spiders Deinopidae — Net-casting Spiders Dolomedes sp Dolophones sp Flower Spiders Hackled Orbweavers (Uloboridae) Jewel Spider Jumping Spider Long Jawed Spider (Tetragnatha sp) Lynx Spider (Oxyopes) Mangrovia albida Maratus volans Missulena occatoria (Red-headed Mouse Spider) Miturgidae Nicodamidae (Red and Black Spider) Ogre-faced Net-casting Spider Poltys sp (Twig Spider) Redback Spider Scorpion-tailed Spider (Arachnura higginsi) Thomisidae Tiger Spider (Trichonephila plumipes) White-spotted Swift Spider (Nyssus albopunctatus) Wolf Spider