Species of the month
Kerengga Ant-like Jumper
Some facts on this spider:
Length: Females 6–7 mm; males 9–12 mm.
Range: India, Sri Lanka, China and many parts of Southeast Asia.
First described: By the British arachnologist Octavius Pickard-Cambridge in 1869, who originally named it Salticus plataleoides.
Take a look at Myrmarachne plataleoides. It is defeinitely an ant, right? Wrong! This is actually a jumping spider that disguises itmself as an aggressive weaver ant. It does this to deter potential predators by looking as if it were the unpalatable and dangerous insect. The weaver ant is noted for its painful bite and for producing two types of chemicals which increase the pain in the bite wound. This aggressive ant's bite can last for several days and be very unpleasant, so many birds, reptiles and amphibians avoid it. The Myrmarachne spider is really harmless and shy, yet it pretends to be just as tough by looking and walking almost exactly as a weaver ant. Its front section is modified to look like the distinct head and thorax of an ant, and it has two black spots that mimic the ant's eyes. The forelegs mimic the ant's antennae, so the spider looks as if it has only six legs instead of eight. This is not the only ant-mimicking creature, and many additional species are found around the tropics that imitate diverse types of aggressive ants.
See also: Species of previous months