9 Long-Horned Orb Weaver
Most orb weavers epitomize the stereotypical, ordinary garden spider. However, a small subsection in the genus Macracantha bend the outer limits of human comprehension. These tiny web builders measure less than a couple of centimeters (about half an inch), but instead of looking like a normal arachnid, they resemble a giant, albeit stiletto-thin, cow skull. On each side of the orb weaver’s abdomen, long, decurved, and solid horns extend from a sort of rear carapace. Horns on a spider are pretty weird, but even weirder is their sheer size—each horn is up to four times the arachnid’s length. The horns are not known to serve any specific purpose, but comparison with other animals suggests that the ornaments could serve as sexual symbols, or even as “badges” to show dominance.