Long-horned Orb-weaver Spider (Macracantha arcuata, Araneidae)
This is the female. The males are diminutive in size and look completely different.
As members of the orb-weaver family of spiders, they build large circular webs in the forest understory. Despite their bizarre appearance, they are as docile and harmless as your garden-variety orb-weaver.
The purpose of the dramatic horns remains unstudied, but theories include: a demonstration of reproductive prowess; a difficult subject for predators to swallow; function as counterbalances so the spider can position itself securely in its web (similar to a tightrope walkers pole); and they are very effective at breaking up the spider’s body profile against a shadowy background of dappled vegetation and sky, rendering them invisible.
Several colour forms occur. This white morph occurs in southern China. Elsewhere in South-east Asia, they can be orange, red or all-black.
by Sinobug (itchydogimages) on Flickr.
Pu'er, Yunnan, China
See more Chinese spiders and arachnids on my Flickr site HERE…