In the Life of a Bulldog Ant

Bulldog ants are well known in Australia for their aggressive behaviour and powerful stings. The ant Myrmecia pyriformis has also been listed as the worlds most dangerous ant by Guinness World Records. The venom of these ants has the potential to induce anaphylactic shock in allergic sting victims. As with most severe allergic reactions, the reaction may be lethal if left untreated. These large, alert ants have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles. Some bull ants, such as Myrmecia pyriformis and Myrmecia pilosula are known to have caused several deaths in humans.

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They have superior vision, able to track and even follow intruders from a distance of 1 m. Myrmecia is one of several ant genera which possess gamergates, female worker ants which are able to mate and reproduce, thus sustaining the colony after the loss of the queen. A colony of Myrmecia pyriformis without queen was collected in 1998 and kept in captivity, during which time the gamergates produced viable workers for three years.



Bulldog Ant Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Hymenoptera
Superfamily: Vespoidea
Family: Formicidae
Subfamily: Myrmeciinae
Genus: Myrmecia

location

Bulldog ants are found in forests, woodlands, and heath. They make their homes underground which have expansive tunnel system with a small entrance.
Freedawn Scientia - In the life of a bulldog ant, bull ants, Inch Ants, Sergeant ants, Jumper ants, jack-jumpers, ants, Facts, Pictures, information, australia, biology of Myrecia PDF documents

Biology of the Bulldog Ant

These ants are well known in Australia for their aggressive behaviour and powerful stings. The venom of these ants has the potential to induce anaphylactic shock in allergic sting victims. As with most severe allergic reactions, the reaction may be lethal if left untreated. These large, alert ants have characteristic large eyes and long, slender mandibles. Some bull ants, such as Myrmecia pyriformis and Myrmecia pilosula are known to have caused several deaths in humans.

They have superior vision, able to track and even follow intruders from a distance of 1 m. Myrmecia is one of several ant genera which possess gamergates, female worker ants which are able to mate and reproduce, thus sustaining the colony after the loss of the queen. A colony of Myrmecia pyriformis without queen was collected in 1998 and kept in captivity, during which time the gamergates produced viable workers for three years.

What do Bulldog Ants Eat?

Bull ants eat small insects, honeydew (a sweet, sticky liquid found on leaves, deposited from various insects), seeds, fruit, fungi, gums, and nectar. Because they mostly live exclusively in bushland, they are rarely exposed to a human-influenced diet. The adult ants mainly eat nectar and honeydew, but the ant larvae are carnivores that eat small insects brought back to them by hunting worker ants. The workers can also regurgitate food back in the nest so other ants can consume it.

Bulldog Ant Adaptations

> These ants have highly advanced vision and therefore they are able to look out for enemies from a distance of 1 metre.
> They use their venom to give anaphylactic shock which can kill their victims. In case of humans they may cause skin allergies and sometimes death.
> The strong claw-like mandibles help them in searching for food, crushing preys and to scare off predators.
> These ants have two pair of jaws – the outer pair used for carrying objects and the inner pair is used for chewing food.



The Life Cycle of the Bulldog Ant

An ant’s life cycle passes through four distinct stages of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs hatch into small grubs which grow into worker ants who expand the nest. The fertilized eggs hatch into females and unfertilized ones into males. The queen leaves the nest at night to find food for its babies. Forager ants who go out searching for food regurgitate the fluid food to feed other members of the colony. Young larvae are usually fed dead insects and grubs. In some species of bull ants, there are no colonies and the queen attacks the nest of other species to kill the queen before taking over the entire colony.

Freedawn Scientia - In the life of a bulldog ant, bull ants, Inch Ants, Sergeant ants, Jumper ants, jack-jumpers, ants, Facts, Pictures, information, australia, biology of Myrecia PDF documents

The bulldog ants live for 8 to 10 weeks passing through the four stages of life. However, in some cases, the queen ant may live for several years.

During certain times of the year, these ants develop wings. When the young queen is ready to mate she flies out to meet other males. These winged male and queens fly into the air and mate after which the males die. After mating, the queens’s wings fall off and she starts building an anthill. The fertilized queen starts a nest by digging small chambers where she lays her eggs. The queen spends her entire life laying eggs.

Quick Facts about Bulldog Ants

> Unlike other ants, they communicate by touch and smell.
> They help in decomposition of dead plants and animals in the wild.
> The sting of these ants hurt a lot since they inject formic acid.
> Scientists have observed that these ants secrete a special chemical that kills pollen. Scientists are testing this secretion to check if it can be used to cure human diseases.
> Unlike other ants they are attracted to flowers but have no role in pollination.
> Some bulldog ants are known to jump and leap upto 2 inches when they are disturbed.

Bulldog Ant Pictures



Videos and Documentary on Bulldog Ants

Giant Killer Bulldog Ants
ANTS – Nature’s Secret Power
European Wasp Vs Bull Ant


Document PDFs on Bulldog Ants

> A Guide to the Ants of South-Western Australia
> Attack Behaviour and Distance Perception in the Australian Bulldog Ant
> Bulldog Ants of the Eocene Okanagan Highlands
> Foraging Ecology of the Night-Active Bull Ant
> The Antennal Sensory Array of the Bull Ant



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