Yesterday I’d talked about a spider that disguised itself as a weaver ant, and how I had stumbled on to one without realising at the time. Turns out that the spider is Myrmarachne plataleoides, also known as the Kerengga Ant-like Jumper.
(When you have about 40,000 spider species with over 5,000 of them being jumping spiders, you end up using silly common names like that one.)
I had spotted a female, and this was way back in January btw. A couple of months ago I’d seen the same near the flower pots some evening, but I didn’t have the camera near me, and the critter disappeared before I could arm myself with one.
Cut to Tuesday evening this week, I noticed something like an ant or two on one of the leaves of a plant growing just in front of my door. It’s evening and after dark, so my eyes almost glanced over it. But my spider sense tingled. 🙂 And then I noticed the webs to one side.
As it turns out, the male Myrmarachne one-ups the female, not very common in the arachnid world. While the female Myrmarachne resembles a weaver ant, the male resembles TWO! It has adapted itself to resemble a worker weaver ant carrying a smaller ant.
Most jumping spiders are cute, but this one looks nasty. Even though they are quite timid, really. They mimic the fearsome (and apparently bad-tasting) weaver ants so that they can get by unmolested. They try to be so convincing in their disguise, these jumping spiders rarely jump, except in dire need.
I love the way the name rolls off my tongue, though. Myr-ma-rach-ne. Apparently, that’s ancient Greek for ant and spider: myrmex and arachne. Everything sounds cooler in ancient Greek. If only we can decipher Linear A some day.
Metadata Canon Powershot G11. ISO 80. f/4.5 at 1/125 second; f/2.8 at 1/500 second (w/ flash); f/5.6 at 1/500 second (w/flash); and f/5.6 at 1/500 second (w/flash). Edited using Picasa 3.8 and Adobe Photoshop CS5. Taken in July 2011 at home in Bangalore, India, except for the first, which was taken back in January in my backyard.