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Ant Mimic Spider (Castianeira longipalpa)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Ant Mimic Spider

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If the appearance the Ant Mimic Spider isn't enough to fool prey, then its clever behavior certainly helps accelerate mealtime.

Updated: 04/11/2024; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
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.

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon
Venomous insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Corinnidae
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          Genus: Castianeira
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            Species: longipalpa

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Castianeira longipalpa
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 5mm to 10mm (0.19" to 0.39")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; yellow; orange; red
Descriptors: ant-like; patterned; venomous; banded; striped; antennae; legs

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 5mm (0.2in) and 10mm (0.4in)
Lo: 5mm
Md: 7.5mm
Hi: 10mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Ant Mimic Spider may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Ant Mimic Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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