Ant-mimicking Spider 2

Seeing the photo of “red ant” below, your first response would be “Stay away from it. It will bite you!” Most Malaysians had experienced the painful pinch of this aggressive red weaver ants, which are so commonly found on the trees. If you think so, you have been fooled by an ant-mimicking spider. It is a spider, NOT an ant.
Ant-mimicking Spider, Sabah, Malaysia

This is the third ant-mimicking bug I would like to show you, besides the ant-mimicking beetle and ant-mimicking spider that I introduced in my earlier blogs. So far this is the MOST impressive ant-mimicking bug I found. It is so real that even if I say it is a spider, nobody seems to believe me.
Ants Mimicry, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

You will need sharp eyes and some luck to spot this type of red ant-mimicking spider. Look around the red weaver ant territory that has established for years. Instead of dating and hanging around with other red ants, this red spider would wander around ALONE nearby. Interestingly, ant-mimicking spiders only live near the type of ant that it looks alike.
Ant-mimicking Spider, Sabah, Malaysia

Below is a picture of the “real” red ants. Are you able to find the differences between them?
Ants Mimicry, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

The pictures below shows how this spider uses its palps to fake the shape of ant jaw (mandible). Also note the big eyes of this spider. Nobody wants to move their faces close to the red weaver ants (if you don’t know why then try it. Hint: acid bullets), so this spider is rarely seen.
Ants Mimicry, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

The ant-mimicking spider is not only look like ant. It also tries to act like an ant, to attempt to make predators back off. Spider has 8 legs and ant has only 6 legs. So how the ant-mimicking spider “hides” the extra 2 legs? The solution is simple. It just lift its 2 front legs on top of its head to fake a pair of ant antenna (and swing them up and down actively, just like an ant). Smart huh?
Ant-mimicking Spider, Sabah, Malaysia

Tour package to Mataking

Still not convinced? I will always show them the strongest evident, if my friends still insist that it is an ant. Then I will enjoy watching their mouths open widely. Click Here to see how I make the spider exposes its true identity.

More suspects… (will add more as new faked ant found)
Ant-mimicking Spider, Sabah, Malaysia

Photos taken in KK Wetland Centre, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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6 thoughts on “Ant-mimicking Spider 2

  1. That is so…cool.

    Its interesting how insects and animals have evolved to mimic other species of animals!! Its just…wow…like a person like me could never even tell the difference!!

    Just a question though, what does the spider feed on? Or does it just hang around the ants for defensive purposes?

    Keep up the excellent work!!

    The Cartenman Can

  2. Cartenman, yes, this is really amazing.
    I think this spider also feed on smaller insects, like other spiders. By looking and acting like an ant, ant-mimicking spider can have better chance of survival coz most predators do not want to mess with ants.

  3. Ahh righteous…

    Thats still so cool, man animals rock!! Especially from our wild forests of Sabah!!

  4. strangely, the ant resembles the animated movie ‘ANTZ’ character..oh well, the title tells all 🙂

  5. Just found one on my desk. For me, the most obvious clue is the movement. I normally just pinch or flick an ant on my desk, but I immediately noticed how different the “ant” moves, way faster and alert compared to a regular ant. At first, I though it was one of those zombie ants, but looking closer, there’s actually an another pair of black eyes behind it’s head. The movement is definitely a spider, and I’ve heard about these ant spiders before, but I never thought I would find a lost spider ant on my desk.

    The ant in your pictures looks similar to the one I found, but I got one with a bulky light-colored abdomen. I’m in PH so probably a different species.

    1. Thank you for the tip. I got my hand on a book about Borneo spiders, and there are a lot of ant-mimicking spiders species. Amazing.

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