March 31, 2016 9:56 am

At first glance, this round, intricately-engraved object embedded in the ground resembles an ancient coin, or some kind of medallion. But if you ever see this thing on the ground, I strongly recommend you do not try to pry it loose.

Why, you ask? Because it’s a freakin’ spider, that’s why.


Known as the ravine trapdoor spider (Cyclocosmia truncata), this creature may also be one of the most bizarre arachnid species on the planet. You see, that medallion-like shape is, for lack of a better word, the spider’s butt.

Most trapdoor varieties (there are over a hundred known types) make a shallow burrow and cover it with a hinged door made of grass and/or dirt glued together with silk; when an insect comes near the burrow, it trips the “trigger wires” the spider lays out in front and the spider leaps out like a horrifying jack-in-the-box, seizing its prey and dragging it back inside.

But even hell-spawned subterranean beasts have natural predators: the greatest enemy of the trapdoor spider is the spider wasp, which can infiltrate the burrow, yank the spider out and inject its body with eggs. When the eggs hatch, the wasp larvae eat the spider from the inside out… while it’s still alive.

That’s where truncata has a distinct advantage: when threatened, it just climbs in its burrow with its big ol’ flat butt sticking out, perfectly sealing the entrance like a manhole cover. It’s usually enough to discourage even the nastiest of predators.

Some trapdoor spiders are also extremely aggressive, so don’t even think about pulling this little “medallion” out of the hole, unless you want some huge fangs up in your business. This clip will demonstrate…


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This post was written by Nadia Vella