AntWeb: May 2012 Archives

Please help! Do all ants have 6 legs (3x2) and in your opinion is this an ant or spider on this picture?
Thanks a lot.
Toni Mindoljevićspider ant mimic.JPG
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Hi Toni,

All ants do have six legs you are correct. However, the attached picture is NOT an ant. On the original website, it is identified correctly as an Ant-mimic spider, although the title of Eight Legged Ant is rather tongue-in-cheek. You can clearly count the legs to see all eight legs of a typical spider. It does appear though that this little mimic is holding one pair of legs out front to imitate ant antenna. The spider is from the family Salticidae, a jumping spider, and can be easily recognized by the large prominent four eyes in front and two smaller pairs along the side of the cephalothorax. This gives them excellent vision, and some species have even been recorded as even being able to see colors and watch TV.

The subject of ant mimics has been addressed in a previous AntBlog post, so take a peek to learn a more.

Best wishes,
Rebekah Baquiran & the AntAsk Team

Hey guys!

Just got a short question. I and a friend of mine were walking down the street a couple of days ago, when suddenly we saw this big ant walking on the pavement. Could you tell me what kind of ant it is?
Some extra information, we live in The Netherlands, Europe, maybe that could be of any help for you!

Sincerely,
Steffan
bigant.JPG
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Hi Steffan,

Great find! The picture you sent in is actually not an ant at all, but a beetle from the family Meloidae, likely from the genus Meloe.
Several species do occur throughout Europe, although without a better look at this beauty, I can't say definitively what species this is.
They are also commonly called blister beetles or oil beetles due to their ability to release oily droplets containing a poisonous chemical compound called cantharidin. When this chemical comes in contact with skin, it can cause painful blisters and swelling of the affected area. If ingested, it can prove lethal but will otherwise cause nasty gastrointestinal or renal problems. This is the same compound found in Spanish fly, and the potential for unfortunate side effects or death is the main reason it is banned in many countries.

Best wishes,
Rebekah Baquiran & the AntAsk Team