Where Do Ant Mimic Spiders Live?

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.

Where Do Ant Mimic Spiders Live
Red Spotted Ant Mimic Spider

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.

Wrap Up

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.

Reader Emails

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.

Reader Emails

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Letter 1 – Ant Mimic Spider from Greece

 

Ant Mimic Spider
Hi Bugpeople,
It moved like an ant, and waved its front legs like antennae. I didn’t even realize it was an arachnid until I looked real close. I spotted it in Zakynthos, Greece last summer. Does this intriguing little spider have a name? As always, thanks for your time, your wealth of knowledge, and for providing the great resource that is What’s That Bug?.
Christina



Hi Christina,
Not surprisingly, your spider really is called an Ant Mimic Spider. Though we can’t tell you the species you have photographed, we can tell you that Ant Mimic Spiders are in the family Corinnidae.

Letter 2 – Ant Mimic Spider

 

Subject: RED LINE SPIDER Location: Houston Tx December 28, 2012 12:00 pm Dear Bugman, I found this guy in my sink. As soon as i noticed it was there it ran and hid in the crevice under the countertop. I was only able to get a picture of the back end of the spider because of its stealthiness. Please help me identify what kind of spider it is because I am mostly worried it may be some kind of widow spider. I have 3 children in the house that I have to keep away from my bathroom area for fear of getting bit. Signature: Thank you ever so kindly. Iris S.
Ant Mimic Spider
Dear Iris, This is a harmless Ant Mimic Spider in the genus Castianeira.  You can verify the ID on BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Ant Mimic Spider

 

Subject: Colorful Nor Cal spider Location: Oakland, California April 21, 2013 3:44 pm Hi there, Met this one in the bathroom and noticed coloring I hadn’t seen before so went and got my camera. It was maybe 3/4” long. Didn’t seem aggressive or especially fast moving. Probably about 80F in the house. Signature: Thanks
Castianeira thalia
Castianeira thalia
This is one of the Ant Mimic or Ground Sac Spiders in the family Corinnidae, and we quickly identified it as Castianeira thalia on BugGuide.  There are color variations with or without the red markings, and those individuals with the red markings are definitely more noticeable. All the reports of this species on BugGuide are from California.  Though we have postings of other members of the genus, this might be a new species for our site. Thanks very much for letting me know. Craig.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Ant Mimic Spider

 

PLEASE HELP!!!!!!! I found two identical spiders last summer crawling across my living room floor. I caught one and took it to the Fort Worth Zoo for help identifying it, since I spent a week on the internet and had no luck. They couldn’t figure out what it was. Now it’s been over a YEAR of searching and still no luck. Yesterday I found another one and took it straight back to the zoo. They still haven’t been able to help me, other than saying it might be a jumping spider. PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME, this spider is driving me crazy. I live in Arlington, TX. If you need any more info let me know. I know that it doesn’t trap food in a web, it runs up and catches it. Also, since I’ve found three I think they should be fairly common, but the fact I’ve yet to find it is very frustrating. Thanks for any help, Emily Hi Emily, The shape, coloration and markings on your spider as similar to images posted on BugGuide of Ant Mimic Spiders in the genus Castianeira, but they are not an exact match. Our Audubon Field Guide, though, has a spot on match. Ant Mimic Spiders often live near ant hills where their antlike behavior confuses predators. They are found in the Southern states.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

5 thoughts on “Where Do Ant Mimic Spiders Live?”

  1. One of these castianera amoena ant mimic spiders bit me on the forehead when I was in my pool. I felt something on my face and when I rolled my fingers across it, it bit. My forehead stung and burned immediately. Within 30 minutes, every pore on my head was tingling and I had a headache. Hoping that’s the extent of it. I fetched it from the pool so I could look it up. Looks EXACTLY like the picture.

    Reply
  2. Most all spiders bite, but are usually not dangerous. They can be painful. A small jumping spider bit me long ago, but I still remember that it felt like a wasp sting.
    You likely know the very dangerous widows of which there are several, and the brown recluse or violin spider.

    Reply

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