Images of Messor harvester ants in Arizona, USA. More coming soon! Scroll down PAST BOTTOM OF PAGE for complete image description, and CLICK large image to make it even LARGER...
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[IMAGE 1 of 3] Approximately 36 cm / 14 inches away from the entrance of this large Messor pergandei nest, a female crab spider (probably of the genus Xysticus) sits motionlessly... [scroll down for additional notes/references]
This spider's coloration was an almost exact match with the grass debris surrounding the Messor pergandei nest. It is tempting to think that this very effective camouflage aided the predator by allowing it to escape being seen by the ants (who would then presumably avoid, or attack it). Because ants communicate chemically, and rely to a very small extent on their poorly developed visual sense, the spider's ability to blend in probably afforded it no (or very little) advantage in capturing these ants. The true benefit of being camouflaged was most likely the spider's ability to avoid being eaten itself, by larger predators such as birds, or insects.