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2019 | 130 | 181-194
Article title

Anecdote of spiders and their model ants of Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary, N-24 Parganas, West Bengal

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Our study on ant diversity of Bibhutibhusan Wildlife Sanctuary, N-24 Parganas, West Bengal during the period, August 2017-July 2018, unfolded wonderful Batesian and Wasmannian mimicry (chemical mimicry) between model ants Tetraponera rufonigra (Jerdon) and its sibling T. allaborans (Walker), Oceophylla smaragdina (Fabricius) and salticid spiders of the genus Myrmarachne Macleay. Siblings of Myrmarachne encountered are M. plataleoides O. P. Cambridge, M. maratha Tikader and M. orientales Tikader. It is supposed that chemical or Wasmannian mimicry enables species with ant-like pheromones to live in close contact with ants. The members of spider Myrmarachne that resemble the aggresive weaver ant Oceophylla smaragdina, with which they live in close contact, also show chemical resemblance. Further, by mimicking the ants they gain protection from predators. Since weaver ants have a painful bite and also taste bad, this strategy appears to be successful. Though these spiders mimic the weaver ants very well, they are known to stay away from them. They weave a thin web on the leaves, hide under their webbing and ambush their prey. Present communication attempts to discuss the morphological and structural similarities between the mimics and their models. It is worthwhile to mention that such a mimicry is reported for the first time from this part of the country.
Physical description
  • Department of Zoology, Barasat Government College, 10, K.N.C. Road, Barasat, Kolkata – 7000124, India
  • Department of Zoology, Barasat Government College, 10, K.N.C. Road, Barasat, Kolkata – 7000124, India
  • Department of Agricultural Biotechnology, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Narendrapur, Kolkata – 700103, India
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