Big ants at work
Dinoponera gigantean, a species of dinosaur ant, has the largest workers of any ant species, although it can be argued that the Campnotus gigas has similar sized workers. Regardless, both species’ workers are huge!
How big can it get?
Dinoponera workers can reach lengths of 3 centimetres (a little more than an inch), a sharp increase from those typically found in your back yard.
What does it eat?
This ant forages for everything from forest foliage to deceased animals. A regular shopping list would include the likes of spiders, crickets, seeds, and plants.
How does it hunt?
Unlike some ant species, it tends to hunt alone and only for short periods of time (as short as 30 minutes in some cases). It forages across the forest floors before returning to the colony.
How dangerous is it?
Dinosaur ants pose little or no threat to humans. If you’re looking for an ant that does, look no further than the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata). This 2.5 centimetre thug packs a brutal sting that will cause a human pain and discomfort for 24 hours after impact.
How many are left?
Actual figures of ant populations are extremely hard to monitor but it supposed that many of the Dinoponera species remain populous.
Whilst discussions as to which is the largest ant continue, it has been established that the largest ant ever was Titanomyrma which lived some 45 million years ago. Unearthed fossils suggest this winged ant would have grown as long as 6 centimetres with a 15 centimetre wingspan.