Habitat: Around the world!
This got me thinking… why exactly would a spider want to imitate an ant? Spiders are so much more badass looking and they certainly scare the hell out of me. Ants on the other hand are more like background noise just scuttling about – boooring.
Well, after a little digging it turns out that spiders are actually afraid of ants! Which I didn’t even know. From the discovery channel article:
[ Three new studies on this unusual spider reveal how it looks, acts and hangs around ants — even forming mini colony-type gangs to foil its own predators. Most spiders are afraid of ants and this ant mimic for good reason.
“Ants are very dangerous to arthropods,” project leader Ximena Nelson told Discovery News. “They are social and can mount a strong response if alerted to potential danger, and they have strong mandibles and are extremely lethal to many spiders.” ]
Apparently over 100 different spider species use this ant-mimicking behavior. It’s most effective if the spider not only looks like an ant but acts like one as well. This is why the spiders are more likely to pass as ants when traveling in groups (as ants typically would).
I would have never guessed that that last picture was a spider rather than an ant, would you have??
Crazy critters these days and their mimicry!