What Is a Bull Ant?

bull-ant Credit: Ed Dunens/CC-BY-2.0

Bull ants are a group of Australian ant species that grows up to 1.5 inches in length. They feed on plant fluids such as nectar and sometimes prey on animals. They live in large nests and attack intruders as a group using their large jaws and stingers.

Bull ants live underground in forests, heath and urban areas. Their ability to survive in urban environments makes them a danger to humans. Their venom is painful and can cause allergic reactions, and each ant can deliver multiple stings. There are 90 species of bull ants in Australia with a variety of physical traits and behaviors.

Bull ants, or Myrmecia gulosa, are among the biggest types of ants in Australia as well as the world. They grow to around 1 inch long and their mouths are about 1/6 the size of their bodies. They are commonly referred to as bull ants because they are fiercely protective of their colonies as well as themselves. They are fighting ants and will sometimes attack unprovoked.

Unlike many other ant species, the bull ants do not work together in highly organized colonies when searching for food. They work independently and even allow the queen ant to find her own food. While they do not necessarily work together when it comes to nutrition, they work together to help take care of the larvae and young ants.