Ant-Mimicking Spiders

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

Ant Models

Camponotus

Formica

Polyrhachis

  • 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

Salticid Spiders

Myrmaplata plataleoides

Kerengga Ant-like jumpers (Myrmaplata plataleoides) have lived their entire lives disguised as weaver ants, but when it comes to love, the male spiders risk it all by revealing themselves. Batesian mimicry is perfectly manifested in the females, while the males have large jaws that, when closed, resemble a minor worker. This short video give you a quick View of the details of the spiders and their behavior. Video by Novita Listyani.
  • Myrmaplata plataleoides male (Salticidae) from Thailand. Photo by Eric C. Maxwell.
  • Myrmaplata plataleoides male (Salticidae) from Thailand. Photo by Eric C. Maxwell.

Myrmaplata plataleoides, a mimic of Oecophylla smaragdina. When approached these spiders watch and track the invader. Body length approx. 10mm, about the same size as the ant species they mimic.

Myrmarachne

Myrmarachne 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)


  • Myrmarachne maxillosa. Photo by Farhan Bokhari.
  • Myrmarachne sp. Photo by Farhan Bokhari.
  • Myrmarachne sp. Photo by Farhan Bokhari.
  • Myrmarachne sp. Photo by Farhan Bokhari.

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).