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Giant Red Bull Ant - Myrmecia gulosa

Subfamily Myrmeciinae

This page contains pictures and information about Giant Red Bull Ants that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Length 25mm
Giant Red Bull Ant is also known as Giant Bull Ant. They are one of the largest in ants species. They have long, straight  and powerful jaws and a potent sting. They have good vision and responded to our approaching even when we were meters away. Red Bull Ants have a reddish-brown head and thorax. The back half of the abdomen is black. Their log jaws are brownish-yellow. 
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Giant Red Bull Ants build nest underground with extensive tunnel systems. The nest entry is usually covered with dry plant materials and dirt. The dirt is loosely scattered around the nest mound. Two or three bull ant guards can often be seen in the immediate opening area, keeping a sharp eye out for any possible intruders.
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We found the Giant Red Bull Ant nest entry when we were walking up to top of Mt Gravatt. It was next to the footpath. There was not much activity. Just inside the nest entry, there were a few guards standing by. When we came within a meter, they ran out and put up an attack posture. 
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Bull Ants are known to be solitary predators. We watch them for half an hour during the morning, we saw two large Red Bull Ants came back to the nest, each with a Gold Spiny Ant on its jaw. We believe Gold Spiny Ants could be one of their food source.
We noticed that the Giant Red Bull Ants have at least three different body sizes. We saw the hunting ants, which were the largest, about 25mm in body length. Those guards ants were 20mm. Inside the nest there were the smaller ants of 15mm, they could be the house keeping ants. 
Please check this page for the general information about Bull Ants. 

1. Australian Ant Image Database - Australian Ant Image Database, R.W Taylor.
2. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus & Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p286. 
3. Myrmecia Fabricius, 1804 - CSIRO, 2010. Ants Down Under, viewed 15 March 2010, <>.

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Fire Ants - We are suffering the Fire Ants problem. 
The Red Imported Fire Ant, Solenopsis invicta, is a serious new pest which has been detected in Brisbane, Queensland. 
They can be the greatest ecological threat to Australia. More information please visit our Government Fire Ants web site.

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Last updated: April 05, 2010.