All About Ants: Interestingly Unique Species and Facts
Ants appeared on earth 130 million years ago. There are more than 12,000 known species of ants. Compared to humans, these tiny creatures are easily identified by their elbowed antennae and a distinctive node-like structure that forms a slender waist. They can be found anywhere else in the world except in Antarctica and certain remote or inhospitable islands.
1.) Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)
The Bullet Ant is the only species in the genus Paraponera. This ant species was so named because of its powerful and potent sting which is said to be as painful as being shot with a bullet.
- This peculiar species of ant can be found in from Nicaragua to Paraguay where it is known as "Hormiga Veinticuatro" or "24 Hour Ant", from the 24 hours of pain that follow a stinging.
- Worker Bullet Ant can grow as long as 25 mm long and looks like stout, reddish-black, wingless wasps.
- It is considered to have the most painful sting of any insect, although it is usually not fatal to humans.
- This sting is given the highest rating on the Schmidt Sting Pain Index
- It is described as causing "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours".
- In some indigenous communities, to enter manhood a boy has to endure being stung by the ant 20 times without screaming.
- The Bullet Ant's bite is so powerful that if it bites an object that is too hard to break, the ant will be flung into the air from the force of its jaws.
2.) Red Bull Ant (Myrmecia gulosa)
Red Bull Ant is a unique bulldog ant species that can be found abundantly in eastern Australia.
- It is one of the largest of ant species with adults reaching a length of up to 30 mm in body length.
- Red Bull Ants are capable of causing severe pain for a couple of days.
- This unique ant species lacks the ability of chemical senses but they have extremely keen vision.
- Red Bull Ant can spot and respond to intruders two meters away.
- It is also known as Giant Bull Ant or Hoppy Joe.
3.) Fire Ant (Solenopsis spp.)
Fire Ants are a variety of stinging ants with over 280 species worldwide.
- They are unique in having a poison sac containing piperidine alkaloids.
- Their stings are painful and can be dangerous deadly to hypersensitive people
- Fire Ants are known to attack small animals and can kill them.
- Fire Ants sting are painful and cause a sensation similar to what one feels when burned by fire -hence the name Fire Ant.
- They have several common names including Ginger Ants and Tropical Fire Ants in English.
- In Japan it is known as aka-kami-ari and in Germany it is known as Feuerameise.
4.) Weaver Ant (Oecophylla)
The Weaver Ant is a unique species of ant.
- This ant which is an arboreal is known for its unique nest building behavior.
- Workers construct nests by weaving together leaves using larval silk.
- It is also known as Green Ant.
5.) Jack Jumper Ant (Myrmecia pilosula)
Jack Jumper Ant is a species of bulldog ant endemic to Australia and be found throughout the country.
- This unique ant species sting can be fatal.
- An antivenin has been developed for the deadly sting of the Jack Jumper Ant.
- It is also known as Hopper Ant, Jumper Ant or Jumping Jack.
6.) Meat Ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus)
The Meat Ant is a unique ant species that can be found in Australia.
- Meat ants live in underground nests of up to 64,000 workers.
- Gravel, sand or bits of dead vegetation are place at the openings of their many nests which are connected together into a ‘super-colony’ that extends up to more than half kilometer.
- These ants are omnivorous scavengers and are used by some Australian farmers for carcass removal.
- It is also known as Meat-eater Ant or Gravel Ant.
7.) Army Ant (Dorylus)
Army Ant is a unique ant genus that can be found primarily in central and east Africa and parts of tropical Asia. It can also be found in Americas.
- Army Ants form anthills and each colony can contain as much as 20 million individuals.
- Soldiers have very large head and pincer-like mandibles.
- It is also known as Safari Ant, Driver Ant and Siafu.
8.) Leafcutter Ant (Atta and Acromyrmex)
Leafcutter Ants are unique ant species.
- They feed exclusively on a fungus that grows only within their colonies.
- These peculiar ants continually collect leaves which are taken to the colony, cut into tiny pieces and placed in fungal gardens.
9.) Jerdon’s Jumping Ant (Harpegnathos saltator)
Jerdon’s Jumping Ant is a unique ant species that can be found in India. Jumping Ants are very different from other species.
- These unusual ants have long mandibles and have the ability to leap a few inches. Jerdon’s.
- They are seen singly or in small groups and their colonies consist of very small numbers of individuals.
- They are also interestingly peculiar among ants in that the queen-worker difference is very limited and some workers called gamergates can mate and lay fertilized eggs just like the queen.
- New colonies are founded independently by single queens, and on aging they are replaced by several gamergates.
- The gamergates copulate with males from their own colonies and being inbred are related to the original founding queen.
10.) Argentine Ant (Linepithema humile)
Argentine Ant is a unique ant species endemic to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
- This tiny dark ant is an invasive species that has been established in many Mediterranean climate areas, inadvertently introduced by humans to many places, including Australia, Hawaii, South Africa, New Zealand, Easter Island, Japan, Europe and the United States.
- It is also known as Grease Ant.