Ant-Mimicking Spiders

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Ants are so cool even spiders want to look like them!

Photo Gallery

  • A Polyrhachis-mimicking spider from Trivandrum, India. Photo by Kalesh Sadasivan.
  • A spider mimic of a member of the Polyrhachis subgenus Cyrtomyrma from Cairns, Australia. Photo by Steve Shattuck.
  • A Camponotus and/or Polyrhachis mimic from Far North Queensland, Australia. Photo by Paul Zbrowoski.
  • Oecophylla smaragdina with mimetic spider that was detected and attacked. Photo by Pavan Ramachandra.

Salticid Spiders

Myrmarachne (Araneae: Salticidae) is an ant-mimicking genus of jumping spiders. Myrmarachne species live close to their model ant species, yet they avoid making contact with the ants. However, contact can be unavoidable at times. The consequence of contact very much depends on which body parts of both animals are involved. The most common form of contact is between the ant's antennae and the spider's first pair of legs. This resulted most frequently in the Myrmarachne running away. In contrast, when the spider's chelicerae were involved the ant would usually run away. It appears that even when there is contact between the two, Myrmarachne manage to avoid being attacked by the ant, thus remaining safe. (Ceccarelli, 2007)

References

  • Ceccarelli, F.S. 2007. Contact between Myrmarachne (Araneae: Salticidae) and ants. Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 14(2): 54-58.
  • Uma, D., Durkee, C., Herzner, G. & Weiss, M. 2013. Double Deception: Ant-Mimicking Spiders Elude Both Visually- and Chemically-Oriented Predators. PLoS ONE 8(11): e79660 (DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0079660).