For the last several years, Singapore-based photographer Nicky Bay has been documenting the life of the mirror spiders, an unusual arthropod whose abdomen is covered in bright reflective panels that appear almost metallic.

Thus, Bay noticed that some of the spiders exhibit unusual behavior, in addition to their shiny appearance. Apparently the spiders are able to manipulate the mirrors in situations where they might feel threatened. In some instances the gaps between the silver plates almost completely disappear creating a larger reflective surface.

You can see a massive archive of macro insect photos on Bay’s Flickr page.

The mirror spider, or twin-peaked Thwaitesia, is a species of spiders that you will find in all states of Australia. The body’s length is around 3 millimeters (0.12 in) for males, 4 mm (0.16 in) for females. As you may notice, the spider has the abdomen patterned with the colors cream, green, yellow and red.

These spiders, called mirror or sequined spiders, are all members of several different species of the Thwaitesia genus, which features spiders with reflective silvery patches on their abdomen. The scales look like solid pieces of mirror glued to the spider’s back. They can actually change size depending on how threatened the spider feels. The reflective scales are composed of reflective guanine.

Talk about it!