Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Not an Ant

When I photographed this animal…

Antlike flower beetle

Antlike flower beetle

… I could have sworn it was an ant.  I knew something looked a little odd about it, but I didn’t stop to think about it and posted it on Flickr with a caption stating that it was an ant.  Thankfully, Matt Bertone set me straight!  It’s not an ant at all.  Instead, it’s an ant mimicking beetle in the family Anthicidae!  That is one crazy good ant mimic.  Nature never ceases to amaze me.  You think you have it all figured out and along comes a beetle like this.  :)

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8 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Not an Ant

    • Pretty cool, eh? I was a little embarrassed that I’d decided it was an ant without giving it any thought and got my ID COMPLETELY wrong (it’s so obvious now!), but I’m super excited I found something that’s such a great mimic!

  1. I had to stare at that for a while. The first thing that said “not an ant” to me was the antenna. Ants always seem to have a sharp bend in their antennae. (Always always? Don’t know, not an expert). Then I noticed the seam along the abdomen. But, wow, is that a neat bug. What does it imitate ants for? Does it imitate a particular species and hide in their nests or something?

    • Staring at it for a while was more than I did, so I completely overlooked the fact that this was not an ant originally. Thankfully, I have a hoard of people who set me straight right away, which is awesome! I have no idea what it imitates ants for. They are pollen and fungus eaters! I am having a hard time tracking down much information about them, so I have no idea whether they go into ant nests. That’s one possibility. Another is that they mimic ants to gain some sort of protection? A lot of things don’t like to mess with ants, so maybe looking like an ant is beneficial? I really don’t know though.

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