When I first started thinking about this article titled Mimicry in the Cairns Botanic Gardens, I learned that there are several forms of mimicry and they are categorised by the intention or the evolutionary persuasion of the species doing the mimicry. The complexity is somewhat overwhelming but absolutely intriguing. I can understand how this subject could easily become a deep dive into nature offering up the endless race between predator and victim.
The first of these mimic styles is called Aggressive Mimicry. This is when the ‘Mimic’ assumes the ‘model’ for the purpose of predatory behavior. We have several species that use Aggressive Mimicry in the Cairns Botanic Gardens & Wet Tropics of Queensland.
Green Tree Ant Mimic (Amyciaea albomaculata)
Featured mid-ballet in the top image, this spider uses its mimicry to prey on its chosen victim of Green Tree Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina). Quite a challenge to photograph due to their skitzy behavior, however, I was fortunate to come across a scene in which the spider had just captured an ant and was in the process of hauling it upwards via its abseiling silk line from an above branch.
Green Tree Ant-mimic Spider (Amyciaea albomaculata) with a victim of its inspiration for Agressive Mimicry, a Green Tree Ant (Oecophylla smaragdina).
Green Ant-hunter Spider (Cosmophasis bitaeniata)
My favourite Jumping Spider in the Wet Tropics and the Cairns Botanic Gardens are these incredible Green Ant mimics. Not only physically taking on similar colouration, but their real mastery comes from their ability to copy the pheromone of the ants and live nearby a nest without being detected. This behaviour is referred to as ‘crypsis’. These spiders are so incredibly beautiful, I’ve featured them numerous times in my blogs as well as my Disco Bugs Greeting Cards. I was very lucky to find some in the backyard of a friend’s place when creating that series. I see these spiders regularly so it’s a great opportunity to see some fantastic mimicry right here in the Cairns Botanic Gardens as well as throughout the Wet Tropics.
Green Ant-hunter Spider (Cosmophasis bitaeniata) during a Let’s Go Buggin Morning Walk in the Cairns Botanic Gardens.