An ant or two.


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.)

29405999-Myrmarachane_female

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.

29406015-Ants_in_the_dark

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.

29406025-Myrmarachne_male

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.

29407506-Myrmarachne_male_jaws_wide

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.

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An ant or two.

5 thoughts on “An ant or two.

  1. Anonymous says:

    @Raghu Thank you, good sir! I but stumbled into that world a few months earlier. :)@Ash ^_^ Your comment reminds me of the Ghostbusters song: /There is something strange/in the neighbourhood. @SS And spiders too!

  2. Saisudha says:

    OMG!! Pavan you are amazing!! So such things exists. You are opening our eyes to such a fascinating mystery world. Keep up. What a clarity. I can see every part of that spider.

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