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The World of Ant-Mimicry

From my field trip observations, the ant has been one of the most mimicked species, and many really do a good job at the mimicry. Insects mimic ants for the 2 main reasons of defence and predation.

Mimicking Ants for Defence
Ants are typically aggressive, and are known not to taste good to predators of insects, such as birds, and occasionally, wasps. Some insects mimic ants, to avoid being an obvious target to these predators. For certain species, mimicking ants allow them to assimilate themselves into the ant colony so that they would not be attacked by the ants.

Mimicking Ants for Predation
This category largely applies to spiders, as well as some predatory bugs such as the assassin bug. They look like ants, and behave like ants as well. It allows them to get close and hunt ants down.

Here are some examples from my past shoots:

Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_6892 #1 Side profile of an ant-mimic jumping spider. It runs around like an ant, waves it's 2 fore legs like an ant, but jumps at the sigh of prey, and is quick to weave a web as well.

Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_6890 #2 Example of the 2 fore legs waving around to mimic the ant's antenna

Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_5295 #3 Top view, looks like a normal ant from afar. Remember to count the legs and number of eyes. 4 pairs of legs, 4 pairs of eyes!

Ant-Mimic Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_7479 #4 Example of aggressive mimicry: Ant-mimic Jumping Spider devouring an ant

Ant-Snatching Assassin Bug (Acanthaspis sp.) - DSC_2033b #5 I'm suspecting that this ant-snatching assassin bug mimics ants by producing chemicals to convince ants that this is one of their kind. This assassin bug is documented in an earlier post: New Tiny Findings at Mandai Track 15.

Today's shoot lasted less than 2 hours. I spent more than half the time trying to lure an Ant Mimic Crab Spider out from the grass, and got rewarded with a heavy downpour! *$#%&$#&%

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6773 #6 Top view of the Ant Mimic Crab Spider. The abdomen is uniquely shaped to mimic the ant's head, with 2 black spots to mimic the eyes.

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6779 #7 Side view close-up

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6803 #8 You're getting this subject at various odd angles because it refused to stand still, I had to take all shots handheld and with random poses

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6827 #9 Peering over the leaf

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6846 #10 Finally got a clearer look at it's face

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6830 #11 Another view of the top. Fake black eyes!

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6818 #12 Another side profile shot

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6873 #13 Right smack in center. Say hi!

Ant-mimic Crab Spider (Amyciaea lineatipes) - DSC_6888 #14 Last shot. I shot this while sitting at the bus stop when it rained. Everyone else was waiting for me while I indulged myself with this little fella. So sorry!

Orb Weaver Spider (Araneus sp.) - DSC_6750 #15 The only other subject in the morning.

The complete album can be viewed here.

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Borneo Spiders: A Photographic Field Guide

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