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This is not an ant

Illustration for article titled This is not an ant

Seriously. It's not. And no, it's not an image of an ant, either. In fact, the creature you see pictured up top isn't even an insect. Can you guess what it is? Here's a hint: count the legs.

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Count em? Eight. Eight! Those aren't antennae you see pointing forward, those are the forelegs of a Ugandan jumping spider — a Ugandan jumping spider that really wants you to think it's a Tetraponera twig ant. Explains the ever-excellent photographer/blogger/scientist Alex Wild: "most birds and other vertebrate predators prefer not to eat stinging ants, so the spider may gain some protection from its fakery."

Wild gives us a side-by-side comparison:

Illustration for article titled This is not an ant
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That's some mighty fine mimicry, right there.

Hat tip to Sian for the tip. For more gorgeous photos of (and generally cool information on) bugs, check out Wild's photography website and blog.

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DISCUSSION

This is no ant either. But do not pick one up with your fingers if you find one.