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Bull Ant

Bull Ant

Bull Ant
Bull Ant
Photographer - Alan Henderson
Source - Museum Victoria

Myrmecia pyriformis

With a set of formidable jaws, and growing to around 25mm long, bull ants have the respect of most forest creatures.

Many bushwalkers know only too well the pain caused by an encounter with a defensive bull ant.

It is not the jaws however which inflict this pain. The weapon these ants use both to defend themselves and to subdue prey, is a venomous sting in their abdomen.

Any threat to the colony will result in a rush of large angry ants running towards the intruder. For such a small animal they have excellent eyesight, and will follow the antagonist some distance from the nest.

When the threat has subsided, the ants will slowly return to the nest or their foraging duties.

As ferocious as they may seem, the adult bull ants feed upon nectar and plant juices. The animal prey that is collected is taken back to the nest and fed to the larvae.

Much of their foraging is done during the day, on the ground or on low vegetation. They are most active during the warmer months of the year, becoming somewhat dormant during winter.

Bull ants generally nest deep within the soil, with usually only a few hundred workers rather than thousands like their smaller relatives. The colony protects the large queen, keeping her sheltered well below ground.

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