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Red Ant-mimic Spider (Castianeira sp.)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Red Ant-mimic Spider

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Red Ant-mimic Spiders are clever little arachnids that disguise themselves as their food to gain closer access to them.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Red Ant-mimic Spiders play both sides of the game. Their ability to be confused as red ants helps keep some of their own predators at bay. It also makes it really easy for them to get close to every meal, whether it be an ant or other insect. It is reasonable to assume that some beetles and bees live harmoniously with ants, sharing the same space on a host plant. These insects that are indifferent to the presence of ants will not see an attack coming until it is too late. It is quite an advantage for the Red Ant-mimic Spider.

In addition to having the same color and body shape as an ant, the Red Ant-mimic Spider also walks like an ant by lifting its legs upward more than forward with each step. This behavior allays suspicion among ants as well as other insects. The spider has only one waist, a feature that betrays its efforts, but this rarely gets noticed.

Red Ants are usually found in or near their colonies. When one ant is injured, others come to its aid. In large numbers, their bites are annoying, if not downright painful, to a predator which may avoid red ants in the future. Red Ant-mimic Spiders may enjoy the wide berth they are given by reptiles and birds as a result of such experiences. The spider can also get close enough to kill and eat an ant and blend in with the ants that come to help it, allowing it to escape. ©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Arachnida
      Order: Araneae
        Family: Corrinidae
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          Genus: Castianeira
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            Species: sp.

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Castianeira sp.
Category: Spider
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 5mm (0.11" to 0.19")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: orange; red; brown
Descriptors: ant

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 3mm (0.1in) and 5mm (0.2in)
Lo: 3mm
Md: 4mm
Hi: 5mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
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State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
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State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
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State of Oregon graphic
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State of South Carolina graphic
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State of Tennessee graphic
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State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
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State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
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 Red 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 Red Ant-mimic Spider. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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