May Taxonomy Fail: Everybody wants to be an ant

28 May

Here’s a fun one for my bug blooper series of mislabeled and misidentified bugs from around the interwebs.

Drumroll, please….

“Fire Ant”

Ta-dah!

This is a very cool one.  Take a close look, because I love these little guys.  This is not a fire ant.  And it’s not an ant.  This is a nifty little ant-mimicking spider.

Some very cool ecology here.  Ant mimicry is fairly widespread in the arthropod world.  In some cases it allows predators to blend in with ants–either to steal their prey or assasinate and devour the ants themselves.  In many cases, however, this mimicry serves a defensive purpose.  When you’re a centimeter long, looking like an ant makes you a bad ass.  For example, check out this ant-mimicking mantis nymph:

Nobody’s messing with him.  For more great photos check out  Up Close With Nature’s  excellent post on ant mimicry.

—-

“Fire ant” spider via Connemara Conservancy Meadow Tour Guide

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2 Responses to “May Taxonomy Fail: Everybody wants to be an ant”

  1. gorthx May 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm #

    That mantis nymph is really cool!

    PS – whatever happened with the luna moth caterpillars? I’m on the edge of my seat! 🙂

    • 6legs2many May 29, 2012 at 10:49 am #

      Lol, good point, I left it hanging. I have pictures but I haven’t taken the time to put a post together. This Friday, maybe? 🙂

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