Hidden Aussie creature captured in 'rare' photos — but what is it?

Even experienced wildlife photographers haven't seen this arachnid.

Australian wildlife has long been branded 'weird and wonderful' by global standards, with both admirers and fearful onlookers in resounding agreement.

From highly venomous snakes to questionable sounding birds, the capabilities of our native animals inspire awe, with a creature recently spotted in Melbourne undoubtedly joining the list. One "lucky" local shared a picture of the well-concealed arachnid on social media on Monday, inspiring an influx of commentary.

"Who would have thought what looked like a broken off twig was actually a wonderful little wrap-around spider," they wrote.

Left, a picture of the wrap-around spider can be seen, camouflaged by the twig. Right, the spider is slightly more noticeable from a different angle, with the outline of legs noticed.
The wrap-around spider was barely visible on the branch, easy overlooked as the stub of a broken twig. Source: Facebook/IanWallace

Rare sighting of 'common' Australian spider

As the caption suggests, wrap-around spiders are often overlooked by city dwellers and bushwalkers alike as they are easily mistaken for a broken off nub on a stick.

"They're reasonably common," moderator of the Facebook spider identification page Emma Collins told Yahoo News Australia. "But being so small and having such excellent camouflage, you can be pretty hard-pressed to spot them, even if you're looking for them. It's rare."

Despite being a spider enthusiast for over five years, Emma has never been lucky enough to spot one in the wild, sharing that even experienced wildlife photographers haven't had the pleasure.

With an average wrap-around spider measuring short of one centimetre, these creatures are harmless to humans despite being described as "mildly venomous". "The spider venom themselves is not considered harmful to humans. Being so small, it would be very unlikely their bite would even penetrate human skin," Emma continued.

'Spiders get a bit of a bad reputation'

The recent sighting in Melbourne contends with the observation of another "orb-weaver" spider spotted in northern NSW in 2020. The "rarely-seen" acroaspis spider was seen by walkers despite the creature initially appearing as a twig between two rocks, showing the impressive camouflage abilities many species possess.

"Spiders get a bit of a bad reputation, especially in Australia. It's really nice to spread some accurate knowledge of them," Emma said.

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