Readers’ wildlife photos

Reader Tony Eales from Queensland sent a spider and a beetle, both mimicking ants. His notes are indented.

Came across another ant mimicking jumping spider. I seriously thought it was an ant until I got the camera on it. One of the gurus from the Australian Arachnid Photography page reckons it’s Myrmarachne erythrocephala. It’s clearly imitating one of the Polyrachis ants like Polyrachis ammon as in the photo attached.

The spider:

The ant:

Here’s a short video of the ant, also called the golden-tailed spiny ant:

I’m currently sifting through leaf litter to find interesting new things to photograph and I came across this ant-mimicking beetle. I have no idea what family of beetles it is and it’s only about 3mm long. The odd thing about it is the texture of the head and thorax. It is a texture like I’ve only ever seen on ants and wasps before. I wonder who that is meant to fool and why.

And not to forget our vegetable friends (yes, yes, I know this isn’t a vegetable), reader Tom Carrolan from New York sent in a forest find, with his email titled “I have loose morels. . . ”

11 Comments

  1. Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Cool! Interesting how the spider mimics the spiny rear of the ant thorax with a color pattern near the front of its abdomen.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Very tasty those mushrooms. However, the time for hunting has past in most places.

    • Posted June 6, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Yes. We have a dead apple tree and late each spring there is a small crop of morels that grow around it. I have not cooked up any, but it is tempting.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 6, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        Oh, you really should. We use to slice them lengthwise, then dip in an egg/milk then flour (batter). Fry in mix of butter and olive oil.

        • Posted June 6, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

          Where I was growing up, there was an ancient apple orchard just across the street. We used to collect grocery sacs of these mushrooms, and cook ’em up much the same way. I actually became weary of the delicacy.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      passed 🙂

  3. Nobody Special
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    An ant mimicking jumping spider or an ant-mimicking jumping spider? These are different things. Yes, I’m a pedant.

  4. Posted June 6, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    “The odd thing about it is the texture of the head and thorax. It is a texture like I’ve only ever seen on ants and wasps before. I wonder who that is meant to fool and why.”

    Maybe it is imitating a “velvet ant”, a kind of wingless wasp? They have ferocious stings and I would recoil if I accidentally dug one up in leaf litter.

    • Tony Eales
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      Maybe but it wouldn’t have fooled me as it was far too small for me to even see the texture.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Are there any biological references as to what arthropod is mimicked the most? Probably hornets and such, but I’ve been seeing a lot of ant mimics of late.

    Morels are a great mushroom, textually and taste…deep earth flavor. They grow around here (Cascade mountains) but the most popular seem to be chanterelles. Too expensive and overrated imo.

    • Tony Eales
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

      There’s definitely a lot of wasp mimics. I’ve seen mimicking of wasps by many families of Diptera, some Lepidoptera, some Hemiptera and at least in one family of Coleoptera as well as a few bees and seen pictures of wasp mimicking Neuroptera, Spiders and Orchids.


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