ASSASSIN SPIDER or PELICAN SPIDER
Eriauchenius legendrei (?)
Photographed in Andasibe National Park, Madagascar
©Photo and Text by Paul Bertner
These strange spiders go by a variety of names which reflect their form and behaviour, though they are most commonly referred to as spider assassins and pelican spiders. The former epithet refers to their araneophagic [spider eating] diet, while the latter pays homage to their morphologically unique ‘necks’ (actually an extension of the cephalothorax).
Despite the natural interest which these spiders garner by their looks alone, little is known about their natural history which can be explained by a variety of factors; their diminutive size (2-8 mm), nocturnal habits, location under foliage suspended head down, or by their short-range endemism.
Not to mention that their cryptic colouration, browns and greys, which facilitate their camouflage as they drop evasively to the leaf litter. As a result, these spiders are poorly represented in the scientific literature, leaving it up to the imagination of the reader or better yet, the observer to fill in the details of their lives. More text and images here
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