Ant-mimicking Broad-headed Bug Nymphs

14mm | January 17, 2011 | Cahuita National Park, Limon Province, Costa Rica

At first glance you’d think that’s an ant rather than a true bug. Look closely though and the beak gives it away. These broad-headed bug nymphs (Family Alydidae) were easily found on the same foliage where I saw some Ectatomma ants. Perhaps those ants are the model for this mimic. The caption for this photo certainly suggests that’s the case.

Here’s a side by side comparison.

Mimic, feeding

Model?, waiting in ambush

Notice how the antenna tips are darker in the photo below. I wonder if that makes them appear shorter and closer in length to the model?

Note dark tips of antennae

Side view

In the lead photo and in the one below, you can see wings developing.

Note the developing wings

Here’s one last photo.

One more photo

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One Response to Ant-mimicking Broad-headed Bug Nymphs

  1. You might be on to something with the dark antennal tips – I hadn’t thought of that. By the same token, perhaps the light coloration just behind the darkening is intended to further emphasize where the tips of the antennae “should” be.

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