Valencia Town Center – Farmer’s Market – Banner
SCV Senior Center – Touch A Truck 2015 – Banner
Union Bank – Banner
PizzaRev – Banner
Patterson’s Collision Center – Banner
California High Speed Rail – Palmdale – Banner
SCV Chinese School – Banner 3
AV Party Rental – Banner
Newhall Land – Banner
Action Family Counseling – Banner
IHOP – Banner
Santa Clarita Transit – Dump the Pump – Banner
SCV Chinese School – Banner 2
All Americans Bail Bonds – Banner
SCV Chinese School – Banner
Santa Clarita Autosound – Banner
Green Convergence – Sun Power – Banner
Academy Swim Club – Banner
Hugo Naturals – Banner
San Diego Zoo – Generic – Banner
College Of The Canyons – Banner
Galpin Motors – Banner
Simply Taylored – Banner
Newhall Land – 2015 – Banner
Facey – Banner
Beyond Harmony – Banner
Brent’s Carpet One – Banner
Nothing Bundt Cakes – Banner
Disneyland – Diamond Celebration – Banner
Adage IT – Banner
It is forecast to be Mostly Cloudy at 7:00 PM PDT on May 26, 2015
Mostly Cloudy
Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Epic Spider Fake Out
Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report:  Epic Spider Fake Out

Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Epic Spider Fake Out

As a child, I was attracted to butterflies by their color and patterns:  sometimes subtle, sometimes vibrant, sometimes simple and sometimes intricate.  As I took a closer look, I sometimes noticed that the trailing end of their wings had a piece missing, as though something had taken a bite out of it. 

I wasn’t the first person to observe this.  Since the time of Darwin, biologists have described butterfly coloration and patterns as defense mechanisms that evolved in response to predation by birds.  There are two major categories of defense mechanisms:  aposematic coloration and mimicry.

Aposematic coloration are warning signals that consist of bright or contrasting colors. These signals send a message: don’t even think of eating me!  For example, Monarch butterfly caterpillars eat milkweed leaves, which contain bitter-tasting plant toxins.  “These toxins stay in the animals when they become adult monarchs…and ”make the butterfly taste bitter”.  When a bird takes a bite, “it will typically spit the butterfly out and will avoid them thereafter.”


Mimicry is “the resemblance of one organism to another”.  The purpose is “concealment or protection from predators”.  The “eyespot” patterns found in some butterflies are an example of this.  Large eyespots are thought to “deter bird predators through intimidation”, since large eyes indicate a large (and possibly hungry) animal.  But smaller eyespots also work by misdirecting birds away from the head, especially when the eyespot is combined with antennae-like projections at the trailing edge of the wing.  This is sometimes known as the “false head hypothesis”.


In both examples of butterfly defense mechanisms, the predators were assumed to be birds.  But now, in a new study, scientists have expanded that list of predators to include jumping spiders!

Dr. A. Sourakov, a biologist at the University of Florida, studied the butterfly-hunting behavior of jumping spiders (Phidippus pulcherrimus).  These jumping spiders were very precise, attacking the head region and delivering “venom to the vital center to instantly paralyze the prey.”

But when the butterfly wings had a “false head” (eyespot and tails that look like an antennae), such as found on hairstreak butterflies, the attack failed.  Accorded to Dr. Sourakov, the “hairstreaks constantly move(d) the hind wings” and “the spider always attacked the butterfly’s false head, thereby avoiding its vital organs.”

The more I learn about butterflies, the more I realize they’re more than just a pretty face.  They’re athletes too – and capable of an epic spider fake out! 


Upcoming Outdoor Events: 

Trail Maintenance Schedule.  Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails.  Contact Steve at for time and place.

Wednesday mornings, May 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29.
Saturday mornings, May 4 & 18. 

Migration Morning Birds, Saturday, May 18th, 8:00 – 10:00 AM.

As the days grow longer, migrating birds become more active, changing locations. Learn about some of the birds that live and pass through our local mountains. Beginners are welcome. Binoculars optional. Meet at Towsley Canyon’s front parking lot. For more information go online

New trail maps available.  If you’d like to explore a bit on your own, the City of Santa Clarita has a website with trail maps of our local open spaces.  

There’s also a new website for bicycle riders.  


You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The SCV Outdoor Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, click here or go to   

Or check out our Facebook page  – L.A. Mountains.


Source: Santa Clarita News

Santa Clarita Valley Outdoor Report: Epic Spider Fake Out

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

About KHTS AM 1220

Beyond Harmony – News Banner
Action Family Counseling – News Banner
AV Party Rental – News Banner
Hugo Naturals – News Banner
College Of The Canyons – News Banner
Academy Swim Club – News Banner
All American Bail Bonds – News Banner
Manzanillo Restaurant – Tile
Santa Clarita Autosound – Tile
SCV Chinese School – Tile
Newhall Land – 2015 – Tile
Facey – Tile
Action Family Counseling – Tile