Amyciaea lineatipes (Thomisidae)

Like many other ant mimicking spiders Amyciaea lineatipes has evolved to resemble the ants that share its environment. Unlike other such spiders Amyciaea lineatipes does not take on their appearance in order to avoid predators, but rather to hunt. This tiny spider specializes in hunting weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) and has evolved to take on the same colouration with false eye spots on it’s abdomen to confuse and complete the masquerade. 

Aside from its colouration and movements, the head of Amyciaea lineatipes is unusually domed which helps it look less like a spider and more like a foraging ant. The eyes are positioned high on the head to give it good overall vision.

To enhance the overall affect, Amyciaea lineatipes raises it’s front legs in a jerky manner in a parody of ants antenna. They are reported to be nocturnal but this specimen was seen in the late afternoon. Their hunting method is to pounce on the unsuspecting ant and then drop with it on a safety line while the venom takes affect. This reduces the chances of the ant being able to gain purchase, mount a counter attack and harm the spider with its formidable jaws and formic acid defense. Weaver ants not only have powerful jaws but are seldom seen alone and within seconds could swarm over a solitary predator. Dropping out of harms way therefore affords the spider some safety from attack while it is locked in its deadly embrace with it’s dinner. 



Thomisidae : Amyciaea lineatipes - Pang Sida National Park, Thailand

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