Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira longipalpis)
Detailing the identifying qualities of the Ant Mimic Spider, including physical features and territorial reach.
Updated: 1/31/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.