Ant mimic spiders are quite rare – only 300 species exist on the planet. So, where do ant mimic spiders live, and can you see them near your home? Let’s find out.
Humans are not the only actors on this planet; several organisms mimic others for offensive and defensive advantages to survive.
The ant-mimic spiders are one such group of creatures who are experts in mimicking ants to get some perks that help them survive more easily.
In this article, we will explore more about ant-mimicking spiders and why they mimic different species of ants.
What Are Ant Mimic Spiders?
There are around 300 species of spiders that mimic ants.
As the name suggests, ant-mimicking spiders are a special group of insects that mimic the physical adaptations of different species of ants for various advantages.
These spiders have elongated bodies with a false waist near the abdomen region. This creates an impression that they have a third segment in the body.
A solid example of an ant-mimic spider is the American jumping spider. These insects have two body segments and eight pairs of legs, like all spiders.
But they keep their front pair of legs raised in the air while walking, which helps them mimic the look of a spider.
Where Do They Live?
Ant-mimic spiders are often found around meadows, woods, and gardens.
They build theirs inside the soil, tree barks, leaves, and more. Since they mimic ants, there is a chance that you will see some of them near anthills.
These mimicking spiders rarely enter buildings or homes. Geographically they are found in Texas, Nebraska, and Florida in the US.
These spiders also live in many countries around the world, including Panama, Paraguay, Canada, tropical parts of Southeast Asia, and several other places.
Why Do They Mimic Ants?
There are many different benefits that these spiders get from mimicking ants. Let us take a closer look at some of them.
Spiders are often hunted by predators like wasps and birds. However, these predators stay away from ants because they can attack in groups.
Thus, through this mimicry of ants, spiders can steer clear of such potential predators. This type of mimicry, where it is used as a defence strategy, is known as Batesian mimicry.
Spiders are solitary in nature, but ants are social insects. By being near ant colonies, these spiders get the support of numbers to stay safe from potential hunters.
To blend well with ant populations, some spiders try to mimic the formic acid smell of ants by rubbing it over themselves from dead ants. This is an example of chemical mimicry.
Using this method, these spiders can sometimes even fool stray ants into coming their way, helping them hunt ants for food. Without such tactics, hunting ants is very difficult.
What Do They Eat?
Ant-mimic spiders usually consume small arthropods, insects, and ants.
By mimicking ants, they can get close to ant colonies and hunt them without facing the danger of being attacked by the whole colony.
Can They Bite?
Ant mimic spiders can bite humans if they feel highly threatened. However, these bites are not risky and won’t cause any fatal injuries.
In rare cases, it might trigger an allergic reaction in the body. Therefore one must be careful around these insects.
Do Ant Mimic Spiders Jump?
Myrmecomorphic jumping spiders can jump and cover short distances this way. They are excellent at mimicking ants.
Not only do they look like ants, but they also behave like ants to create a double deception.
Similar to ants, they take short steps and walk in a winding path like they are following some chemical trail.
However, as a rule, ant mimic spiders are not jumping spiders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do ant-mimic spiders do?
Ant mimic spiders are experts at pretending to be ants. These insects look almost similar to ants and are often mimicking their movements and behavior to look exactly like one.
They do so to stay safe from predators and sometimes to be able to hunt these very ants they are copying.
Can spiders sense a human?
Spiders are great at sensing vibrations. Therefore, they can easily detect humans because we tend to shake the ground when we walk.
However, if the movements of the invader are not similar to a potential predator, spiders will not feel threatened and will refrain from attacking or biting them.
Is there an ant that jumps?
The jack jumper ants, also known as jumping jacks, can jump. These ants are venomous and are found in different regions of Australia.
Apart from that, the American jumping spider can also jump, but they are not ants; they only mimic the appearance and behavior of ants.
Do jumping spiders bite?
Jumping spiders usually do not bite humans and pets until they feel threatened by their presence.
These insects are non-aggressive and are mostly harmless. The bites are mild in terms of pain, and they heal fast. However, it is good to be a little careful around them.
Ant mimic spiders are a great example of how the act of copying different organisms can help one survive better in the wild.
These spiders not only look similar to ants, but they also behave the same as ants.
This gives them an edge to get better prey and to be in the protection of large ant colonies to stay safe from larger predators like birds and wasps.
We hope the article gave you a proper insight into why these spiders mimic ants. Thank you for reading the article.
Observing ant-mimic spiders is a unique experience, and many of our readers have shared these sightings with us in the past.
Please go through some of their emails and photographs to understand how closely these insects resemble ants in real life.