Leaf Curling Spider (Phonognatha graeffei)

Just one of the dozens of Leaf Curling Spiders which have been building webs across my walking track recently.

About a month ago, it seemed there were Jewell Spiders everywhere, but this week the Leaf Curling Spiders have taken over.  As the name suggests, each spider uses a curled leaf suspended in the centre of the web as a protected  hiding spot.  I’m actually thankful to see the leaves suspended as it has saved me from walking through so many webs.  If I can walk around the webs, I leave them in place. Right now we have many biting March Flies circling around  as I walk, and I have seen some suspended in the Leaf Curling Spider webs.  I can only hope that some of them get caught. There are times I do have to break the web though, so I have taken to walking with a short web-switch  stick. Usually I break the web close to one attachment point, leaving most of it intact, if dangling.

It’s funny. When we first moved here, the first sight of a spider would have sent me into ‘destroy’ mode, or more honestly, asking someone else to destroy it for me while I took cover.  Looking at species has really changed me on a fundamental level.  Now if I see a web I look for the spider to see if it is one I have photographed or not.  This still astonishes me. I’ve even been known to scoop a spider up with a glass and a bit of paper and deposit it outside.  We have an abundance of annoying insects and if the spiders are going to help to keep them down, then I am happy to let them be.

I’ve noticed that some spiders have more success than others with curling the leaf.  Some are almost straight, with the slightest twist at one end.  Others are very loopy.  Mostly it is difficult to see the spider inside, but if the leaf is open at the top end, it is possible to see them crouching just beyond the opening.  Here are a few examples of curled leaves.

Looks like this spider has caught an insect.
I love the large loop on this one.
It seems the cat netting over the back yard is a perfect spot to hang a web from as well.


6 thoughts on “Leaf Curling Spider (Phonognatha graeffei)

  1. I also have found that wanting the photo completely over-rides the dislike and I also set spiders free BUT the big Hunstman spiders are on their own in that regard. I haven’t seen any Leaf Curl Spiders around our place but will be on the lookout now.

    1. I managed to catch two Huntsman spiders and put them outside. The first one on the end of a long broom handle (hoping like mad it wouldn’t run down the handle) the second one by trapping it in a large drinking glass with a solid bit of card over the bottom. It was a bit creepy when it could stick its feet out, but the gap wasn’t large enough for it to completely escape. Interesting observation I made with these two is that one had black feet and the other had pink feet. Are there two types of Huntsman? Another mystery to be solved at some point! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

      1. Thanks for the link – I’ve linked to it in a new post about Huntsman Spiders. I have been holding onto this photo for ages, waiting for a good time to post it. Now seems to be right. Just looked up Huntsman Spiders – Australia wide there are 94 species, and in Victoria two species. Thanks for the link to your blog. I am now following you too!

      2. Wow! I had no idea there were so many different species. Hope you find something interesting on my blog…. I actually have 3 because the topics are so diverse. 🙂

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