Net-casting Spider - Deinopis sp.
Image: Alan Henderson
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: I recently found this interesting spider that looks like a stick in my backyard, could you tell me what it is?
Answer: This beautiful spider is what is commonly known as a Net-casting spider, and is a species from the genus Deinopis. These spiders have a pair of very large forward pointing eyes, resulting in one of their common names being the rather unflattering Ogre-faced spiders.
The spiders spin a small web that has the ability to be rapidly expanded to a number of times its size and that they hold between their front legs. At night with their large eyes they hang in an area where a potential meal is likely to be and wait with their web. When the prey walks or flies past they drop on them and wrap their net around it.
The spiders are not considered dangerous to people and like many species of spider there is quite a degree of difference between the males and females of the species. The females of the species Deinopis subrufa tend to be a pretty light brown or salmony colour while the males have very spindly legs and black and grey stripes. The legs are held in a way that gives the spider the appearanace of a large letter x, with two pairs held together and pointing forwards and 2 pairs held together and pointing backwards.