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Myrmecomantis atra the mimicry artist Ants are the terrors of the insect world and most avoid them at all cost. So, looking like an ant can often save an insect from predation. Not just that, the ant-like appearance can help an insect go unnoticed amongst other ants and some insects take advantage of that to eat the ants which give them protection! Here's an Ant Mantis - a species of Praying Mantis which looks like an ant and acts like one except that it could catch and eat up a passing ant. This mantis lives to mimic ants, fire ants to be specific. The nymphs are incredibly fun to raise as they look exactly like ants, all the way down to the mandibles. As they get older, they gradually lose their bright red coloring and begin to sport green and brown markings. The mature adults are green in color and look nothing like ants. Females have small black and orange markings at the end of the wings and males have dark coloring along the entire wing. Many types of insects mimic ants, from phasmids to katydid, spiders, flies, beetles and praying mantis. Insects mimic ants as a protective mechanism, a form of Batesian mimicry. Birds and other large insects tend to avoid ants as prey as they tend to be aggressive or unpleasant to taste. Ant Mimicry is called ‘myrmecomorphy’ which comes from two words myrmex (meaning ant) and morphos (meaning form). Occasional some insects mimic ants to be able to prey on ants.
Ant mimicry or myrmecomorphy is mimicry of ants by other organisms. Ants are abundant all over the world, and potential predators that rely on vision to identify their prey, such as birds and wasps, normally avoid them, because they are either unpalatable or aggressive. Some arthropods mimic ants to escape predation (protective mimicry), while others mimic ants anatomically and behaviourally to hunt ants. To overcome ants' powerful defences, mimics may imitate ants chemically (Wasmannian mimicry) with ant-like pheromones, visually (as in Batesian mimicry, though the purpose may also be aggressive mimicry), or by copying microstructure for tactile mimicry.
Recently observed one such myrmecomorphy – the Asian Ant Mantis (Odontomantis planiceps), also called the Grass Mantis. As can be realised from the name, this praying mantis is recognized to practice myrmecomorphy. The instar (nymph) of this praying mantis can easily be mistaken as a large ant until you clearly see the front two legs. This filed study done at Hyderabad state means Telanaga, India the particular location this species found at NARSAPUR, 30 Km to hyderabad, India.