Camponotus sp.. Although many small insects disguise...
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Photo Details

Image #cld1910872
SpeciesCamponotus sp.
LocalitySarawak, Malaysia
DescriptionAlthough many small insects disguise themselves as ants to take advantage of their unpalatability, mimicry by another ant species is quite a rare occurrence. At a quick glance the two ants in this photo appear the same, especially while they are quickly scurrying down a stem, but closer inspection reveals that in fact there is a clever deception taking place. The ant at the bottom is Crematogaster inflata, an uncommon species from the rainforests of Borneo, which is distinctive in having a swollen orange metathorax. Its glands can exude a toxic sticky fluid as a defense and predators thus tend to avoid this species, heeding its bright warning coloration. At top is a relatively harmless Camponotus ant (actually an unnamed species) that mimics the Crematogaster in size, shape, and color - although its orange coloration is found on its abdomen rather than its thorax. Observations of this species are rare but curiously, these Camponotus mimics have only ever been observed in close proximity to colonies of Crematogaster inflata. The exact nature of their association and whether or not these mimics derive other advantages from their toxic models is still unknown. 
Keywordsant | batesian | borneo | crematogaster | fauna | formicidae | hymenoptera | inflata | insect | mimic | mimicry

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