General, Research, Technology

The most dangerous ants: where do they live and how painful do they bite?

The nature of Australia is very diverse and carries forpeople are in great danger. It is at this point on our planet that some of the most dangerous spiders and snakes live. Ants there, by the way, are also extremely dangerous and their bites annually become the cause of death of thousands of people. So, on the territory of the Australian island of Tasmania, you can meet the so-called black bulldog ants (Myrmecia pilosula), which bite very painfully and let a powerful poison into the blood of their victims. Toxic substances cause fatal anaphylactic shock only 3% of people. Despite the small proportion of their potential victims, in Tasmania, more people die from the bites of these ants than from attacks of spiders, snakes, sharks and other predators combined. Scientists have been studying these creatures since the distant 1858 and during this time they learned many interesting facts about them. For example, they found out that ants can move quickly by 20-centimeter jumps.

There are 90 species of bulldog ants in the world, but the most dangerous of them is Myrmecia pilosula

Anaphylactic shock - the strongest manifestation of allergies, which withoutimmediate intervention can lead to the death of the person. Shock can occur not only after being bitten by poisonous insects, but also after eating certain foods and inhaling animal hair or pollen. Symptoms of anaphylactic shock include swelling, redness, itching, profuse sweating, fainting, and so on.


  • 1 Bulldog ants
    • 1.1 What do ants eat
  • 2 Nomadic ants
  • 3 Fire ants
  • 4 Bullet ants

Bulldog ants

Like many other species of ants, Australianmurderers live in colonies. In one large anthill with a diameter of up to 1 meter, several thousand worker ants, hundreds of males and several queens can live. The social structure of anthills is such that working individuals are engaged in the construction of a nest, males fertilize females, and those - lay eggs. The same thing happens in the "bulldog" anthills, but in their appearance they are very different from ordinary ants. Differences are in body size, coloration, and other anatomical features.

Individuals from different colonies often fight among themselves

What do ants eat

Black ants feed on plant nectar andsmall insects. Some species use 10cm jumps to move quickly. It goes without saying that they do not purposefully hunt people. Ants only bite if their colony is in danger. So, if, while walking through the forests of Tasmania, a person steps on an anthill, he will definitely not be good. Its skin will instantly be strewn with numerous bites of powerful jaws, in which poisonous jaws are located. If the victim has an allergy, he will most likely die.

Black Bulldog Ant Head

Find information on the exact composition of ant venomcomplicated. But scientists openly share what a person feels when bitten by insects. The first thing about the victim is severe pain at the bite site, which can last for several weeks in a row. In this case, the skin is very swollen, reddens and becomes covered with extremely unpleasant-looking blisters. A person's body temperature rises dramatically, blood pressure drops markedly, and heart rate increases. Death can occur with severe anaphylactic shock.

See also: New species of insects named after Marvel heroes

Nomadic ants

The second most dangerous species are nomadicants. As the name suggests, these tiny creatures cannot constantly live in the same place and often move from place to place. In the colonies of the African species Dorylus wilverthi, there are up to 22 million individuals. The body size of ants also reaches 15 millimeters, and their jaws, which are larger in size than the head, give them an awesome look. The colony's movement speed is about 20 meters per hour. At the same time, the soldier ants walk along the edges of the column and are ready to attack anyone.

African nomadic ant head

So, columns of nomadic ants sometimes destroyalmost everything that comes their way. It doesn't matter who it is: larvae, adult insects, snakes and rodents - tiny creatures seem to be devoid of a sense of fear. Only now they cannot do much harm to people. Yes, on rare occasions their venom can cause the aforementioned anaphylactic shock in victims, but deaths are extremely rare. But the list of dangerous ants of these creatures would clearly be worth adding.

Do you know who the "hell ants" are and why they look so strange?

Fire ants

In the USA, Australia, New Zealand,Taiwan and the Philippines can run into the so-called red fire ants. The length of their red body, because of which they were given the name, does not exceed 6 millimeters. These aggressive creatures cannot gorge themselves on nectars alone, therefore they mainly feed on dead mammals, spiders, worms, and so on. The size of the fire ant colonies depends on their diet. So, if individuals manage to find sweetened water, the colony grows faster. Such a conclusion, at least, was made by scientists during long-term observations.

Red fire ant close up

Typically, red fire ants attackvictims in a crowd and behave extremely aggressively. With painful bites, they inject the poisonous substance Solenopsin into foreign organisms. The bites feel as if matches are being extinguished against the skin - hence the name "fire" ants. If a person is unlucky enough to encounter these creatures and he is stung, redness and swelling of the skin, nausea and dizziness will appear among the symptoms. There are cases in history when the bites of fire ants led to the death of a person.

The head of a red fire ant. You can see the effects of bites here, but this is not the most pleasant sight.

Fire ants create problems not only inthe world of people, but also in animal society. For several years in a row, scientists have noticed an increase in bird mortality and in some cases they die from the bites of these ants. In areas with a high density of these creatures, many chicks simply cannot reach the adult stage of development. Birds that nest on the ground are in particular danger. And it is understandable, because predatory ants do not even need to climb trees - the food actually lies on the "plate" in the form of a nest.

Ground-nesting American terns (Sterna antillarum) often fall prey to red ants

Humanity is trying to fight the fieryants in all available ways. Such creatures as parasitic ants of the species Solenopsis daguerre, humpback flies and Boveria bassiana mushrooms are specially brought into the places of their accumulation, which are ways to destroy dangerous insects. Also, in some regions of the planet, people are trying to exterminate dangerous colonies by digging up anthills, followed by pouring boiling water or liquid nitrogen. In the second half of the 20th century, chemicals were used in the fight against poisonous creatures, but then it was discovered that they were too dangerous for birds and people.

Insects affected by the Boveria Bassi fungus

Bullet ants

Bullet ants live in South America.(Paraponera clavata). An unusual name was given to them because the pain from their bite brings the same suffering as a bullet wound. And all because during a bite they let a strong poison poneratoxin into the bodies of their victims, causing excruciating pain. According to some researchers, this substance is much more dangerous than the poison contained in the stings of any bees or wasps. So, when these creatures bite, people are also not laughing, and in some cases, a collision with these creatures can be fatal.

Bullet Ant Appearance

These ants are perhaps the largest of allof the above types. The length of their black bodies reaches 25 millimeters. One colony can be home to about 2,500 workers who prefer to build anthills at the base of trees. At the entrance to the nest, a pair of guards are regularly found, which, when a danger arises, warn the entire colony. Subsequently, a large army begins to scout an area of ​​up to 30 centimeters and attack anyone they consider to be enemies.

Bullet Ant Head

Ants often attack victims by jumping at them fromtrees. Having descended to the surface of an enemy body, they seem to "squeak" and call for help from their relatives. Together they thrust 3.5-millimeter stings into the skin and release toxic substances, which bring unbearable pain sensations throughout the whole day. Therefore, bullet ants have another, unofficial name - "24-hour ants." It is believed that their bites are much more dangerous than attacks by wasps and bees.

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In some Indian tribes, these terribleinsects are used in the initiation rites of boys into adulthood. On the hands of young men, special gloves made of leaves are put on, inside of which are the poisonous stings of ants. After just 10 minutes of wearing these gloves, boys' fingers become paralyzed. The wearing of poisonous gloves is repeated about 20 times a year. If the boy endures all this horror, then he is ready to become a warrior.

A video where the host of a television show puts on these same gloves

On our site there are many materials on the topicants. For example, in 2019 I talked about a huge flock of black garden ants (Lasius niger), which could be seen even from space. Why there were so many of them at that moment in time, read in this material.