If the appearance the Ant Mimic Spider isn't enough to fool prey, then its clever behavior certainly helps accelerate mealtime.
Small and fast, Ant Mimic Spiders have similar coloring to certain types of ant. With bodies shaped a lot like ants, it may be difficult at first glance to tell that this creature is actually a spider. In an effort to blend in with their food source, Ant Mimic Spiders walk with their front pair of legs raised in the air, sometimes rubbing them together, mimicking antennae. They may also occasionally tap their abdomen to the ground. These cunning behaviors can make it tricky even for a human to identify it as a spider. As with most arachnids, all is revealed by simply counting legs.
The resemblance to ants isn't just an aid in hunting; it can also act as a defense against predators. Many types of ants taste pungent to birds, small mammals, and other insects thanks to natural formic acid secretions, so looking and acting like an ant can deter typical spider predators from eating Ant Mimic Spiders. Add in the likelihood that an Ant Mimic Spider often lives near ant hills or nests, and it is possible to almost create a safe zone for itself.
Females are only slightly larger than males. They eat smaller insects and lay a small clutch of eggs on circular, flat, white egg sacs. Eggs hatch in autumn and spiderlings overwinter until spring. Ant Mimic Spiders can be found anywhere ants are found: fields, lawns, gardens, woods, on trees and under stones. Look for a tubular 'retreat,' a sac of silk inside a rolled-up leaf or under plant matter. When not hunting, they rest inside these sacs.
Scientific Name: Castianeira longipalpis
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.20in to 0.39in)
Colors: black; yellow; orange; red
Descriptors: ant-like, patterned, venomous, banded, striped, antennae, legs
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Legs: Spiders have four pairs of legs and these are attached to the cephalothorax.
Pedipalps: Small appendages near the mouth used as taste and smell organs.
Cephalothorax: Contains eyes, head, mouthparts, and legs.
Abdomen: Contains various organs related to digestion, reproduction, and web-making.
Spinnerets: Used in the production of spider silk for fashioning webs or catching prey.
NOTE: Unlike insects, spiders have both an endoskeleton (internal) and exoskeleton (external).