Spider vipers are among the most unusual tricksters in the animal kingdom

AND big spider it moves slowly between the rocks, an opportunity not to be missed hungry bird look for food. Lark she then tries to slingshot at the defenseless arachnid, but is suddenly caught as she tries to peck it from the deadly bite of a viper he remained hidden and completely motionless among the rocks. The spider actually it’s not a real arachnid at allbut the extraordinary tip of the tail of a particular horned viperwhich the reptile shakes just for deceive and capture ignorant birds.

The reptile is actually called its own horned viper spider (Pseudocerastes urarachnoides) and is one of the most skilled tricksters in the entire animal kingdom. The pinnacle of his stuff It looks every bit like a spider or generally an arachnid, complete with protruding belly and legs. The similarity is really impressive and looking at the highlighted video, it is very likely that your eyes have also fallen victim to this trap. The snake’s exceptional ability also makes the trap even more effective in camouflage among the stonesmaking it completely invisible.

Detail of spider-shaped tail Pseudocerastes urarachnoides

Nevertheless, the spider viper and its unique hunting strategy have endured for a long time completely ignored and forgotten even by the scientific community. This species really lives exclusively in western Iran and in the border region with Iraq and it was not until 1968 that an individual was identified and collected during an expedition to be preserved elsewhere Field Museum of Natural History OF Chicagohowever, where it has been mistaken for another similar species, Persian horned viper (Pseudocerastes persicus).

Already at that time they noticed his strange tail, but didn’t think much of it. A single individual, however dead, was not enough to confirm that it was a separate species. Additionally, his tail could actually also be a result of trauma, injury or even genetic abnormality or tumor. The viper was then forgotten until 2003when scientists found another of the same type that confirmed it was in fact a completely new species and that the tail was definitely not anomalous, but a typical feature of the snake.

Bird hunting sequence. Photo by Behzad Fathinia et al., 2015

The species has actually been formally described only in 2006, but even then no one had yet seen his exceptional and unique hunting strategy, and there was only a hypothesis that his tail, so curious, might have a role in this sense. Herpetologists and naturalists then they headed for the Persian mountainstry to observe species in nature and understand something more about them on his behavior. And after years of observing and filming in the field, in 2015, with a study published in the journal Amphibia-Reptilia, the whole world knew incredible abilities of this snake.

In fact, scientists have found that vipers spend about a third of their time on average “wags tail” and slowly moved the strange fleshy appendage between the stones. Then when the bird approached, the intensity of the movement increased approximately fourfold. The snake shakes the tip of its tail, which resembles a moving spider, precisely to attract and deceive his victimsusing a fairly common hunting strategy among “horned” snakes: the technique sit and waitsit back and wait

Pseudocerastes urarachnoides lurking on the rock

Caudal priming (Caudal luring) is actually a well-known and relatively common form of mimicry, and in many other snakes than in sharks and other fish. However, no other animal has been able to evolve such a complex fleshy structure and eerily similar to a living arachnid. However, even the best scams come in the long run “unmasked” from the development and experiences of the victims. Again, thanks to a study published in 2015, the authors actually noticed that the trap worked better especially with migratory birds.

This figure could mean that resident birdshowever, due to the long period spent together with vipers sharing the same habitat for millennia, yes they learned to recognize a snake and therefore it is better to avoid fraud. Which the migratory species that pass through these parts do instead only for short periods of the yearthey still fail and therefore fall more easily into counterfeiting “spider” and one of the most unusual deceptive animals ever seen on our planet.

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