I love to find such creatures. Many cause me to do the classic double-take as I dismiss them as something common and then snap my attention back because of some little thing that didn’t seem quite right. This little fellow had me doing just that. It’s part of a group of spiders considered ant mimics, meaning that many organisms mistakenly consider them to be ants.
mimicry is less effective when they are at rest, but they are seldom
still. They move as a foraging ant
moves, scurrying around the surface of plant leaves or chasing back and forth
across a patch of bare ground. When they
do stop, they move their front legs in a manner similar to the movement of ant
In most cases, animals will mimic a species with superior defensive
capabilities. It seems that both ants
and spiders are equally equipped with weaponry suited to dissuade attackers. Maybe the spider benefits by evading the
notice of some predator that specifically seeks spiders.
When in motion, the spider is almost
indistinguishable from Formica exsectoides, the Allegheny Mound Ant. The Mound Ant is here in abundance and is to
be found foraging on every stationary object in the landscape. They are so plentiful that ant mimic spiders
easily blend in as part of the throng.
It’s just a joy to observe an oddball ant and have it turn out to be an
ant mimic spider.
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