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Ant Mimic Plant Bug



Coquillettia a plant bug mimic of Myrmecocystus ants, photo © by Mike Plagens

This plant bug was found on an inflorescvence of Big Galeta (Pleuraphis rigida), a perennial grass. Location was Rainbow Valley, Maricopa County, Arizona, USA on 08 May 2010. Actual size is about 8 mm

Miridae -- Plant Bug Family

Honey Pot Ants, Myrmecocystus, are capable of delivering a potent shot of formic acid if attacked by an insectivorous bird or reptile. The experience is enough to prevent any repitition of a predation attempt. This bug, by way of natural selection, has come to take advantage of that fact. By appearing in minute detail to be just that, a honey pot ant, it is avoided by sharp-eyed birds and lizards, thereby allowing it to feed quite peacefully on exposed flower parts.

amazing ant mimic that is really a bug © by Mike Plagens But if this bug were to meet up with the real McCoy, i.e. a genuine Myrmecocystus ant, it could well become prey because the ants are predatory! Identification of the bug was provided by the many dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers of the web site

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