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Ant-mimicking spider

Fact Box
Species:
Myrmarachne species (QM)
(with strong similarities with Myrmarachne striatipes)
Family:
Salticidae
Body length:
female: 7 mm
male: 9 mm
Habitat:
Any surface where ants can be found, though it rarely enters houses. Brown surfaces are preferred for camouflage reasons but the spiders also run with ants along established ant pathways, catching their prey by stealth rather than by use of silk
Toxicity:
This species is not aggressive towards humans and is unlikely to induce systemic illness though it may cause local inflammation
Myrmarachne species
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A male
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Other views
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Underneath male
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Side, rear view
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Another species?
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Another view
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View from front
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Side view

The distinguishing feature of this species is the partial constriction of the cephalothorax and/or the abdomen into two segments to produce an ant-like body shape. The very large porrect (forward pointing) chelicerae on the male are another striking feature. The female's palps are long and thin with paddle-shaped ends but are not porrect. At least on some Myrmarachne species the cephalothorax appears to have a helmet-like shape (as shown above). Note that the colour of Myrmarachne species seems to vary, at least partly, with the colour of the ants they are running with.

Spider(s) with a very similar appearance: None.


Email Ron Atkinson for more information.    Last updated 11 May 2009.