Red Bull Ant, Myrmecia gulosa

The red bull ant (Myrmecia gulosa), also known as “hoppy Joe†or the giant bull ant, is a species of bull ant that can be found in Eastern Australia. It was first described by Joseph Banks in 1770 and was one of the first insects to be described from Australia. Its nests are found underground and contain a network of extensive tunnels.

The red bull ant reaches an average body length between .5 and 1.1 inches. Its thorax and head are typically reddish brown in color, while its hind end is typically black. Adults hold long, serrated mandibles that are typically brownish yellow in color, which they use to administer a poisonous venom that can cause pain for up to a few days. This ant relies on its visual sense, unlike other ant species that rely on chemical receptors, to navigate the world around it.

The red bull ant is considered a primitive species because it prefers to search for food alone and will occasionally display aggression towards members of its own species. This species is strong and will often hunt prey such as bees, consuming the juices from the inside of the insect. The meat of the insect prey is taken back to the nest and given to the larvae.

Image Caption: Myrmecia sp., Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia. Credit: Damon Rao/Wikipedia