Some of the smallest spiders that look like ticks and ants include Patu Digua, Ant spider-horse, Marpissa muscosa, Maevia inclemens, European Garden Spider, Ballus, spider mites, and Australian peacock spiders.
Some small spiders might sometimes be mistaken for smaller animals like ants or ticks. While it is not that common to see spiders that are so small, there are some spider species that you might not be able to distinguish right away from these two animals.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the smallest spiders that look like ticks and ants.
Disclaimer: This is information for entertainment and educational purposes only. Do not approach a wild animal and keep your distance. Only professionals should handle wild animals. Seek professional help immediately if you have been bitten or otherwise harmed. Consult your local wildlife authority for the right advice for your situation and locality.
Spiders That Look Like Ticks or Ants
Here are some spiders that look like ticks and ants.
1. Patu Digua
According to Guinness World Records, Patu Digua is the smallest spider in the world. A fully grown Patu Digua is only 0.59mm long and its body length is 0.40mm long. It has red eyes and a shiny black body, with a light yellow stripe right below the head of the spider.
Patu Digua is from Madagascar, and it’s a member of the Mimetidae family of spiders. This spider species live in forests and on sandy beaches. Sometimes, this spider is mistaken for other insects and bugs because it is so small.
The Patu Digua is one of the most interesting spider species in the world, not only because of its appearance but also because of the way it attracts its prey. It has a web that’s almost invisible to scientists, but once an insect or bug is caught in the web, it will move around so much that it actually becomes visible to the spider.
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2. Ant-Mimicking Jumping Spider
At first sight, this spider species looks just like an ant. Ant-Mimicking Jumping Spiders use this to their advantage, attracting various insects and bugs that hunt ants.
Once these bugs and insects attack the spider thinking that it’s an ant, the spider will pounce and strike back, surprising the attacker and turning the predator into the prey.
The Ant-mimicking Jumping Spider is originally from South America and is a member of the Salticidae family of spiders. It’s a unique species that can be found across the world today.
3. Marpissa Muscosa
Marpissa muscosa is a species of spiders that look like ticks and ants, and it can be found in many parts of the United States. This spider has a shiny black body with white markings on its abdomen.
The spider will be found under the bark of trees where it will hide and wait for opportunities to attract insects. It’s also found under flat stones and other natural hiding spots where it can hide from its predators.
It is one of the smallest spider species out there, which is why it is often mistaken for other insects and bugs. But this appearance is slightly deceptive, which the spider will use to its advantage when hunting for prey.
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4. Maevia Inclemens
The Maevia Inclemens, also known as the Himalayan spider, is one of the smallest species of spiders that looks like a tick. It’s a nocturnal species that only comes out once the sun sets.
Read More: Are Spiders Nocturnal?
This species is often mistaken for other spiders because of their size and appearance, but the Maevia inclemens has a unique feature that can be used as an identifier: it has stripes on its abdomen.
The spider will use its legs as camouflage as it hides from predators and hunts for food. It is still a small spider, but one of the larger spider species on this list.
5. Dwarf Orb-Weaver
The Dwarf Orb-Weaver is the second-smallest spider species in the world, so it could be mistaken for a tick. This spider spends most of its time under the bark of trees where it will hide and wait for its prey (mostly ants).
The Dwarf Orb-Weaver has small eyes that help it see the dark. When this spider finds an ant or bug that it wants to eat, it will run fast towards the ant, make a sudden stop right before it gets close enough to strike, and then bite the ant with its fangs.
Read More: Why Do Spiders Have So Many Eyes?
6. European Garden Spider
The European Garden Spider is one of the smallest spider species in Europe and around the world. Sometimes, it gets mistaken for ticks because of its thick abdomen and relatively short legs.
The European Garden Spider has different and distinctive color markings compared to that of ticks, with a pattern that goes from light to dark and a shiny, black abdomen.
It also has two parts of its legs that are dark and clear, which give it an appearance that looks like a zebra stripe.
The Ballus is another species of spider that is similarly small to the Dwarf Orb-Weaver. This species has one of the longest spinnerets of any spider species, which can give the appearance of a stinger which is found on some female ants.
This spider belongs to the jumping spiders and they are quite small with short legs. They also have a black appearance, which makes it look like a tick, but it isn’t. This spider is found in Eurasia and Sri Lanka.
There are many smaller spiders that look like ticks and ants. It’s easy to mix them up, but there are usually a few prominent differences that can help identify them.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.