The World of Ant-Mimicry
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:
#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.
#2 Example of the 2 fore legs waving around to mimic the ant’s antenna
#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!
#4 Example of aggressive mimicry: Ant-mimic Jumping Spider devouring an ant
#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! *$#%&$#&%
#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.
#7 Side view close-up
#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
#9 Peering over the leaf
#10 Finally got a clearer look at it’s face
#11 Another view of the top. Fake black eyes!
#12 Another side profile shot
#13 Right smack in center. Say hi!
#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!
#15 The only other subject in the morning.
The complete album can be viewed here.