I try to change my backdrop to my computer every week because I love freaking out all my students. I am determined to have all the pre-meds find spiders and bugs as beautiful as I do by the end of the semester.

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Myrmarachne plataleoides

Myrmarachne plataleoides, also called the Kerengga Ant-like Jumper, is a jumping spider that mimics the Kerengga or weaver ant in morphology and behaviour. This species is found in India, Sri Lanka, China and many parts of Southeast Asia. Unlike the weaver ants, M. plataleoides does not bite people, and indeed seems rather timid. The body of the M. plataleoides appears like an ant, which has three body segments and six legs, by having constrictions on the cephalothorax and abdomen. This creates the illusion of having a distinct head, thorax and gaster of the weaver ant, complete with a long and slender waist. The large compound eyes of the weaver ant are mimicked by two black patches on the head. The males resemble a larger ant carrying a smaller one. The males use their long fangs like swords to fight off rivals. They can split their jaws, normally held closed, to unfold their fangs when required. The spiders live in trees and bushes where the weaver ants live in colonies. By mimicking the ants they are able to stay close to them and gain protection from predators.

photo credits: wiki, 2010 Jeevan Jose, Kerala, India is used here under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

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