Wikijunior:Bugs/Ant-Mimicking Spider

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What does it look like?[edit]

Ant-mimic Spiders are 1/8 to 3/8 inches long. They resemble ants in shape. They can be orange, brown, or black, but are mostly reddish brown. They are often patterned with light or dark bands or spots. Violet color can be seen around the eyes with white spots behind the rear eyes. There is a thick plate on the back of the abdomen.

The longipalpa species of the Ant-mimic Spider has a long, oval abdomen and a pear-shaped carapace. It is usually brown, black, or dark red, with white or yellow hairs. Females are slightly larger than males.

Where does it live?[edit]

Ant-mimic Spiders can be found anywhere ants live such as soil, leaves, and tree bark. They often live near anthills where their antlike behavior confuses predators. Their habitat is woods, meadows, and gardens. Members of the longipalpa species sometimes construct a small silken home under rocks, logs, or leaf litter. Their range is from Quebec to Florida and west to Texas and Nebraska.

What does it eat?[edit]

Ant-mimic Spiders eat small arthropods and small insects. Members of the longipalpa species do not spin webs to capture prey. Instead they roam around hunting for food.

How does it defend itself?[edit]

Coloration and quick, darting movements protect them from predators. Ant-mimic Spiders look like they will sting or taste bad, so predators avoid them. The amoena and occidens species imitate velvet ant wasps which have a painful sting.

What stages of metamorphosis does it go through?[edit]

Ant-mimic Spiders mature and mate in summer or fall. At egg-laying time, the female attaches flat egg sacs beneath a stone or in a rock crevice. Egg sacs are white and shaped like a flattened disk. The egg sacs contain relatively few eggs. The eggs hatch in autumn. Spiderlings overwinter and disperse quickly in spring.

What special behaviors does it exhibit?[edit]

Ant-mimic Spiders imitate ants and appear to taste bad. This kind of imitation is called Batesian Mimicry.

The longipalpa species of Ant-mimic Spiders slowly wave their two front legs in the air like antennae, so they look like carpenter ants.

Some Ant-mimic Spiders weave a tubular sac of silk inside a rolled-up leaf or under plant matter.

How does this bug affect people?[edit]

Ant-mimic spiders pose little risk to people. Their bite is similar to a bee sting.