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Portia fimbriata

Fact Box
Species:
Portia fimbriata (QM)
Family:
Salticidae
Body length:
female: about 10 mm
male: about 9 mm
Habitat:
On bark and green leaves or in a small, tangled, theridiid-like web built in crevices of tree branches, often in close proximity to the webs of orb-weaving araneids
Toxicity:
Unknown; may cause mild illness or at least pain and inflammation at the bite site
Portia fimbriata
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Another view

Portia fimbriata has excellent vision but still tends to use mimicry and camouflage to catch its prey, which includes some insects but especially other spiders and notably orb-weavers with poor vision. It has been observed to vibrate the webs of the latter spiders then ambush them when they come to investigate the vibrations.

Female specimens of Portia fimbriata have many projections and tufts of hairs on their body surfaces as well as thick brushes on the tibia of each leg and very slender terminal leg segments. Their eye region is arched and tufted also. These features and the brown and white colours of this spider allow it to disguise itself as leaf debris when stationary and this is part of its strategy for ambushing prey. Curiously, the male is rather different in appearance and has much less convincing camouflage.

Portia fimbriata can be found in South East Asia down to Northern Australia. The limits of its southwards distribution in Queensland are uncertain but it apparently has never been found south of the Tropic of Capricorn and is essentially a tropical rainforest spider.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: None.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 9 February 2010.