Trapdoor Spider


“Always, it seems, there is something that goes wrong. Whatever he wants, whatever he likes, has sooner or later to be turned into a secret. He begins to think of himself as one of those spiders that live in a hole in the ground with a trapdoor. Always the spider has to be scuttling back into its hole, closing the trapdoor behind it, shutting out the world, hiding.”

-J.M.Coetzee, Boyhood

Cyclocosmia sp. in burrow, from Appalachia. :P...

The Dark Caves (Batu Caves) in Malaysia are home to the rarest spider in the world- The Trapdoor Spider (Liphistius Batuensis) and during my recent visit to Kuala Lumpur I got acquainted with this unique species there. Coincidentally immediately following my return I read the above line in Boyhood and it got stuck in my head, although before this visit this analogy would have never caught my attention.

Trapdoor spiders are so interesting. They construct burrows with a cork-like trapdoor which is camouflaged and hinged on one side with silk. The spider detects the prey by vibrations and, when it comes close enough, leaps out of its burrow through the trapdoor to make the capture. There is another trapdoor at the other end which is rarely used but in the time of emergency the spider escapes through the other trapdoor.

Trapdoor spider

Even the Dark Caves are so unique. They have magnificent cave formations of stalactite and stalagmite and interestingly continue to form even today although very slowly and you are not allowed to touch any formation but the newly formed formations are absolutely pearl white. It is home to an ancient animal ecosystem 100 million years old that only thrives on bat poop. Bats are their only link to the outside world and most parts of the cave are so dark that the human eye can never adjust to the darkness.

Nature can be so unique! Kudos to all those involved in preserving the Dark Caves, a spectacular phenomenon!!

Recommended Links:

Dark Caves Malaysia

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A dreamer. An intellectual, spoiled by the world of literature trying to find sanity through traveling and expression through Visual Art and writing! Hope you like my expressions on this blog!!

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