The deceptive and tricky Ant-mimicking Crab-spider

There is no doubt that certain species of spiders are quite deceptive and tricky. This is the case of Aphantochilus rogersi (top photo), a neotropical carb-spider in the Thomisidae Family, that convincingly mimics its prey, the turtle ant Cephalotes atratus (middle and bottom photos) or also Zacryptocerus pusillus.

These spiders do not just mimic the appearance of the ant, but also oviposit in close proximity to nests of the model ant. As if that were not enough, Aphantochilus rogersi also has an specialized hunting behavior, this spider uses the bitten and paralyzed ant as a shield, presumably protecting it from attacks by living ants.

So, just in case, the next time you see an ant …. You better count how many legs it has. 

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Pablo Sebastián Padrón | Locality: Pastaza, Ecuador] - [Middle: ©Ricardo Solar | Locality; unknown]  -  [Bottom: ©Ana Jaramillo | Locality: Riomanso Natural Reserve, Colombia]

Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan (Ramphastos swainsonii) by bayucca (busy) on Flickr.

Costa Rica

Memphis moruus coerulescens | ©Rodrigo Conte   (Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil)

Memphis moruus (Nymphalidae) is a Neotropical butterfly commonly named Hoja Azul and Mariposa Hojarasca (in Spanish), because the undersides of the wings closely resemble dead leaves. The upper side of the wings are blue with darker spots. 

This butterfly inhabits the Subtropical forests. They are found in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and parts of South America such as Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, and Colombia.

Glittering Sapphire / Black-patched Metalmark | ©Luciano Rubens

A beautiful Lasaia agesilas (Riodinidae) photographed in Caçapava, SP, Brazil. This species is found exclusively in the neotropics (from Mexico to Paraguay). They are small butterflies, averaging about 30mm in wingspan. Males have extremely reflective wing scales, shimmering in metallic turquoise, blue or steely grey according to species. Females are rarely seen. They are generally a dull earthy brown color. Both sexes have a similar pattern of black spots. 

The butterflies are strongly attracted to human sweat. So when you come across them, get ready because they will not stop harassing you.



King Vulture - Sarcoramphus papa

The King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa (Falconiformes - Cathartidae), is a species of vulture found in the southern part of Mexico and throughout Central and South America to northern Argentina.

The most noticeable difference between king vultures and other vultures is that they are largely covered with white plumage. King vultures are large birds, their wingspan can reach up 1.98 m. Their bare head, neck, beak and muttle are red, orange and yellow, with very striking eyes that are straw, white or silver in color. Their beaks have a hooked tip and cutting edges, which are very strong. There are no differences between the males and females of this species.

Reference: [1]

Photo credits: [Top: ©Ricardo Bevilaqua | Locality: Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 2009] - [Bottom: ©Joao Quental | Locality: Jeremoabo, Bahia, Brazil, 2014]