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Cosmophasis obscura
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Family: Salticidae
Subfamily: Heliophaninae
Genus: Cosmophasis
Simon, 1901
Type species
Plexippus thalassinus
C. L. Koch

see text

45 species

Cosmophasis is a genus of the spider family Salticidae (jumping spiders). Some species occur in Africa, while most are found in Southeast Asia, down to Australia. Although most species more or less mimic ants, there are also colorful species[1] that follow a different strategy.

C. bitaeniata uses chemical mimicry to be accepted by the aggressive weaver ant species Oecophylla smaragdina.[2]

One species, said to be not a particularly good ant mimic, was observed living near and preying on ants. According to (Murphy & Murphy, 2000), "to watch the spider stalking and killing its prey is an arachnological spectacular".[3]


Cosmophasis sp. from the Philippines.


  1. ^ Jerzy Proszynski: Cosmophasis
  2. ^ Nelson et al. 2006
  3. ^ Murphy & Murphy 2000: 304


  • Murphy, Frances & Murphy, John (2000): An Introduction to the Spiders of South East Asia. Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Lumpur.
  • Nelson, X.J., Jackson, R.R., Edwards, G.B. & Barrion, A.T. (2006): Living with the enemy: jumping spiders that mimic weaver ants. The Journal of Arachnology 33: 813-819. PDF
  • Platnick, Norman I. (2009): The world spider catalog, version 9.5. American Museum of Natural History.

Further reading[edit]

  • Allan, R.A. & Elgar, M.A. (2001): Exploitation of the green tree ant, Oecophylla smaragdina, by the salticid spider Cosmophasis bitaeniata. Australian Journal of Zoology 49: 129–137.
  • Allan, R.A., Capon, R.J., Brown, W.V. & Elgar, M.A. (2002): Mimicry of host cuticular hydrocarbons by salticid spider Cosmophasis bitaeniata that preys on larvae of tree ants Oecophylla smaragdina. Journal of Chemical Ecology 28: 835–848. doi:10.1023/A:1015249012493
  • Elgar, M.A. & Allan, R.A. (2006): Chemical mimicry of the ant Oecophylla smaragdina by the myrmecophilous spider Cosmophasis bitaeniata: Is it colony-specific? Journal of Ethology 24(3): 239-246. doi:10.1007/s10164-005-0188-9

External links[edit]