The deceptive and tricky Ant-mimicking Crab-spider
There is no doubt that certain species of spiders are quite deceptive and tricky. This is the case of Aphantochilus rogersi (top photo), a neotropical carb-spider in the Thomisidae Family, that convincingly mimics its prey, the turtle ant Cephalotes atratus (middle and bottom photos) or also Zacryptocerus pusillus.
These spiders do not just mimic the appearance of the ant, but also oviposit in close proximity to nests of the model ant. As if that were not enough, Aphantochilus rogersi also has an specialized hunting behavior, this spider uses the bitten and paralyzed ant as a shield, presumably protecting it from attacks by living ants.
So, just in case, the next time you see an ant …. You better count how many legs it has.
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Photo credit: [Top: ©Pablo Sebastián Padrón | Locality: Pastaza, Ecuador] - [Middle: ©Ricardo Solar | Locality; unknown] - [Bottom: ©Ana Jaramillo | Locality: Riomanso Natural Reserve, Colombia]