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