Posted by: scrubmuncher | June 22, 2011

A masterclass in mimicry…

The last post about the hornet clearwing moth got me thinking about another incredible mimic, a photo of which I saw when looking for images for a new book I’m working on. The animal in question is a neotropical sac spider (Sphecotypus cf niger, Corinnidae) photographed by Arthur Anker (check out his brilliant photos on Flickr) in Ecuador.

Take a look at the photo below. This has to be one of the most convincing mimics. Just look at the shape of the head, the way the body is constricted in the right places to give an impression of a distinct head, thorax and abdomen and how the legs are held. It even goes to the trouble of pretending it has antennae by holding its fore-legs aloft. I think this is about as perfect as a mimic can get without becoming a body snatcher.

The individual in the photo is a female and it’s preparing its egg cocoon.

Master of mimicry. An ant-mimic sac spider (Sphecotypus cf niger, Corinnidae), female preparing her cocoon Bigal River Forest Reserve, near Sumaco NP, Ecuador. Image and identification courtesy of Arthur Anker. See more of Arthur's photos on Flickr under the username artour_a

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