These 10 facts about Bulldog ants will explain to you how these helpless looking creatures can be dangerous stingers.
Overall, we know ants as industrious creatures who are minding their own business. We do not expect too much suffering from their bite. Though that is true with most of the ants, bulldog ants belong to a totally different category. The category I would describe as scary as wasps.
FACTS ABOUT BULLDOG ANTS
1. Bulldog ant is the given name to the Myrmecia ants. Danish entomologist, Johan Christian Fabricius established the genus of Myrmecia ants in 1804.
2. Bulldog ants are also known as “bull ants” and “Jack jumpers”. Those names were given due to their aggressive behaviors and extraordinary sizes. When their nest is disturbed, they can jump a long distance aiming at their opponent. Their average size is somewhere between 8 mm to 40mm (0.3 inches to 1.5 inches). They are larger than most ants, and that is how they got called “bull ants”.
3. They are aggressive insects with venomous stings. By injecting their venom, the ants can kill or paralyze their prey. Their sting can give allergic reactions to humans, or in a worse case, multiple bites can even lead to anaphylactic shock.
4. Bulldogs are exceptional hunters thanks to their excellent vision. When observed closely, you will first notice their two large eyes. Using those sharp eyes, bulldog ants can see their prey from a 3.3 ft (1-meter) distance away. That may not sound like a good vision. But, it is, compared to other ant species.
5. Bulldog ants are endemic to Australia. If you are eager to observe them from a close distance, then you should make a trip to Australian grasslands, forests and coastal areas. That is the places where they mostly dwell. A new colony starts out from a simple nest. However, over a time they expand their dwellings as the colony grows larger. Dead and decaying logs, stone bottoms, and old tree stumps are the ideal places to find their nest, although it is not recommended to come close to their dwelling.
6. The Guinness Book of World Records listed Bulldog ants as the most dangerous ants in the world. Once again, it is because of their aggressive behavior. They are not much scared of people. Instead, they can ferociously attack and inject their venom multiple times. According to the report, there were three deaths caused by bulldog ants since 1936. Fortunately, the death count is low, but casualties still exist proving how those ants can be deadly.
7. They do not leave scent trails (pheromone trails) contrary to most ants. Scent trail is the main communication method of ants. For instance, if a scout ant finds a good food, it leaves a scent trail to it, so that its buddies (other worker ants) can easily find that food themselves. However, bulldog ants are not adapted to that kind of social behavior.
8. Bulldog ants may have existed over 50 million years ago. As I mentioned above, those ants dwell only in Australia nowadays. However, that was not the case in the past. Fossils found in North America, South America, and Europe indicate that they may have roamed in various parts of the World until they died out completely. Currently, descendants of survivors exist only in Australia.
9. Queens of bulldog ants can live for several years. But, the rest of the ants in a colony can live only somewhere between 8-10 weeks. They reproduction cycle goes through four stages: Egg, larva, pupa, and adult.
10. Female bulldog ants are workers and males are soldiers. In other words, females build nests while males protect them as soldiers. Although both females and males bull has specific functions in their colony, they are not socially organized contrary to many other ants. They work in an individualistic manner. Even the colony’s queen scouts and brings her own food.
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