Wierd & Wonderful - Acanthaspis

A fascinating find by Ian Edwardes in Khao Yai National Park is the assassin bug Acanthapsis petax. Known to exist in Africa, Malaysia and the Philippines this incedible member of the Reduviidae family is now known to be found in Thailand also.

Acanthaspis petax is famous for it's incredible use of dead ants to perform a macabre form of aggressive mimicry. As you can see from the photograph this assassin bug covers itself by stacking the exoskeletons of dead ants into its back and carrying them around like a rucksack!

It is believed that they perform this grizzly feat in order to mask themselves from the predatory jumping spiders (Salticidae) that sometimes feed on them. It is thought that jumping spiders do not normally attack ants due to their nature of swarming and use of acids as defence. An incredible form of camoflague and defense by Acanthaspis petax showing just how complex the interactions of species in bio-diverse habitats like Khao Yai National Park can be.

Photo of Acanthapsis petax in Thailand

The wierd but facinating Acanthaspis petax in Khao Yai National Park. Inset is a jumping spider seen on an adjacent branch at the same time


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trekker's Avatar
trekker replied the topic: #509 08 Aug 2012 13:52
Here is another example, seen in Pang Sida National Park, of a creature using the exoskeletons of insects as protection. Its a larval nymph but of what I have absolutely no idea.

"Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius." > Edward O. Wilson

"An understanding of the Natural World and whats in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment." > Sir David Attenborough

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