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Ants That Look Like Spiders

By Mandy Kalish ; Updated September 21, 2017
Most ants do not resemble spiders.

Many insects and spiders actually mimic ants in order to prey on them or to defend themselves from other predators. Only one ant truly looks like a spider, however, and that is the aptly named spider ant. Members of the ant genus Leptomyrmex, spider ants are found in Australia, New Guinea and New Caledonia. There are currently 27 species of Leptomyrmex in the South Pacific, including red spider ants and honey ants.

Appearance

The spider ant has six long legs and two long antennae that appear to be legs, so that they look like eight-legged arachnids. Their elongated heads also make spider ants appear more like spiders than ants.

Behavior

In addition to looking like spiders, spider ants also mimic spider behavior. When in danger, spider ants lift their lower abdomen like spiders, and tend to move quickly like spiders as well.

Queens

Unlike many other types of queen ants, the spider ant queen does not have wings. It is hypothesized that the queen's lack of wings is the reason that spider ants are localized to one particular region in the world.

Nesting

Compared to other types of ants, spider ants have fewer members in their colonies. They nest in dead wood or soil at ground level and can walk on water due to their long, thin legs.