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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Jack Jumper Ant, Myrmecia pilosula

The jack jumper ant (Myrmecia pilosula), known by other names including the jumping jack or hopper ant, is a species of bull ant that can be found in Australia. Its range includes Tasmania, New South Wales, and rural areas of Victoria. This species is unique in that its genome only holds on set of chromosomes, which is the lowest number of chromosomes that any animal can hold. Like other bull ants, this species can build nests under rocks or under dirt mounds.

The jack jumper reaches an average body length between .3 and .4 inches and is typically black or black and red in color. It jumps when agitated or startled, the trait from which it received its common name. As is typically to its genus, the jack jumper lives in colonies, but prefers to forage alone and displays aggression towards other members of its species.

The jack jumper is a carnivore and scavenger that stings its prey, which includes wasps and other ants. In humans, this venom typically causes redness, swelling, fever, and blistering. In about three percent of cases, its venom can cause anaphylactic shock. Stings can be treated like wasp stings and an allergy immunotherapy program has been developed to help those who are allergic to the venom.

Image Caption: Jack Jumper Ant. Credit: Fir0002/Wikipedia

Jack Jumper Ant Myrmecia pilosula