Saturday, July 10, 2010

Two Banded Ant Mimic (Castianeira cingulata)

click for large

While out fossil hunting today I happened upon this gal. While it doesn't look it from this angle, from above it looks just like a Carpenter Ant. It moves along slowly and purposefully like any other ant, except this is a spider.

Members of the genus Castianeira are considered mimics of large ants, such as carpenter ants, and mutillid wasps, which are known as “velvet ants.” These spiders purposely walk about slowly the way ants do and then only move fast when disturbed. Many times they even raise their front two legs to mimic ant antennae.

These spiders mimic ants for several reasons. Many birds or predators that rely on sight to hunt, don't hunt ants because they are typically distasteful or aggressive. Ant mimics may also use their camouflage to hunt ants. A wolf in sheep's clothing!

Raynox DCR-250 mounted on my Panasonic Lumix FZ8.

3 comments:

  1. I am not a spider fan but keep finding these spiders in my shed. We live on a wooded lot on the Mississippi River so it comes with the territory. My wife is very scared of insects and I believe it was one of these spiders in our kitchen. Is this something I should be concerned about with our kids in the house do they try to ignore humans and move on.

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  2. That last post was supposed to be for the Dark Fishing Spider

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  3. You don't have to worry either way. Neither are dangerous to humans.

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