What is it about?

An isolated population of a rare black coloured variant of an ant mimicking jumping spider Myrmaplata plataleoides O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1869 has been reported from Chotanagpur Plateu, Jharkhand. Interestingly these spiders do not mimic their convention model which is a red coloured ant Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius, 1775. Rather it mimics a black ant Camponotus compressus Fabricius, 1787. Apart from taxonomy and mimicry, mating, feeding and moulting behaviour of the spider was delineated. The spider was also found to mimic different castes of workers during its different moulting stages which has been termed as temporal mimicry.

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Why is it important?

Generally morpho-variants are not studied in detail. No one wants to waste time in studying more about morpho-variants after their species status is established because they are morphologically distinct individuals of the same species and are not considered very useful in Bioystematic studies as they differ from the holotype. Study of the moulting behaviour of an isolated population of a morpho-variant of ant mimicking spider reveals the display of a novel mechanism of ant mimicry among these spiders which has been named as temporal myrmecomorphy. Here different developmental stages (moults) of the spider mimic different sub-castes of the worker ants. Temporal myrmecomorphy has been proposed to be a protective mechanism used by a harmless mimic against the attacks of the aggressive models so that it can co-exist with the models.


Present study establishes the usefulness of a morpho-variant as an important model in understanding the evolution and behaviour of a species holistically.

Rahul Kumar

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This page is a summary of: On the behavioural biology of a morpho-variant of Myrmaplata plataleoides (O. Pickard-Cambridge, 1869) (Araneae: Salticidae) with taxonomic notes, Animal Biology, October 2022, Brill,
DOI: 10.1163/15707563-bja10094.
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