Top 14 Biggest Ants in the World (Largest Ants 2023)

From stories like ants and the grasshopper to the ant and the dove, these tiny creatures have always been a fascinating subject for biologists. Their behavior, social structure, and interaction among their fellow mates have been exploited for a long as a source of moral values. These six-legged creatures are often left unnoticed until we get a painful sting from them. A small stroll in the garden or backyard will make us encounter a variety of ant species, each with its characteristic features. They come in various sizes and colorations, which often raises the question of which are the largest ants in the world. Therefore, today we bring you our article on the Top 14 Biggest Ants in the world.

14) Black Garden Ants

Black Garden Ants

The Black Garden ants are medium-sized, generally occurring in lengths of 3-5 mm, with the Queen being much larger. These ant species are monogynous, where male colonies have only one Queen.

Black Garden Ant Queens has the longest lifespan among ants, at nearly 29 years. These are primarily nectar feeders but may sometimes forage on aphids, moth larvae, cockroaches, and beetles.

Genus- Lasius

Scientific name- Lasius niger

Location- found across Europe, North America, South America, Asia, and Australia


13) Red Harvester Ants

Red Harvester Ants

On the 14th position on our list of Biggest Ant species, we have the Red Harvester Ants. These are pretty large, with an average body length of 6-7 mm. The Red Harvester Ants primarily feed on plant products and may sometimes exhibit mutualism with particular plant species.

They exhibit solid social behavior and are fierce defenders of their colonies. Their sting is considered to be painful and venomous, causing inflammations and allergies.

Genus- Pogonomyrmex

Scientific name- Pogonomyrmes barbatus

Location- native to the Southwestern United States


12) Siafu Ants

Siafu Ants

The Siafu Ants, better known as the Driver Ants, are not a single species but are a Genus and consist of as many as 63 large species of ants. These army ants differ from other Genera in their huge population, which may sometimes be as many as 20 million individuals.

The Driver Ants are known for their migration, where the colony moves in the form of columns. The soldier ants are characterized by their large heads and strong mandibles. Smaller arthropods serve to be their primary diet.

Genus- Dorylus

Scientific name– Dorylus sp.

Location- Widespread distribution; found in almost all continents


11) Formica fusca

Formica fusca

Next on our list of biggest ant species we have the Formica Fusca. These ants are black, with the worker ants being quite large, 8-10 mm in length.

F. fusca primarily feed on honeydew, moth larvae, and nectar. They usually make their nests below old tree stumps or under stones and boulders.

Genus- Formica

Scientific name– Formica fusca

Location– Europe, Southern Asia, and Africa


10) Banded Sugar Ants

Banded Sugar Ants

The Banded Sugar Ants get their name from their affinity towards sugar, which they retrieve from aphids. These ants are generally 6-16 mm long (0.2-0.6 in), with the Queen being the largest ant in the colony. 

These ants are predatory, where they use their mandibles to hold their prey and use formic acid to kill it. The soldier ants may inflict a painful bite on humans, and the formic acid they spray is quite harmful to human skin.

Genus- Camponotus

Scientific name- Camponotus consobrinus

Location- Native inhabitant of Australia


9) Weaver Ants

Weaver Ants

Green ants, commonly known as Weaver ants, are the 10th largest ants in the world. This species is widespread around the globe for its unique nest-building skills with its larval silk. Weaver ants depend on various arthropods that wander near their nest for their protein source.

Apart from this, they feed on honeydew, secreted by multiple aphids. They exhibit strong social behavior and work coordination and are highly territorial.

Genus- Oecophylla

Scientific name– Oecophylla longinoda

Location- Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia


8) Trap-Jaw Ants

Trap-Jaw Ants

The Trap Jaw genus of ants is undoubtedly one of the largest ants in the world. They are characterized by the presence of a pair of large, straight mandibles and live side by side with each other. 

These are immensely strong and can instantly snap and shut the prey in their grip. These ants follow an omnivorous diet, but the larva is carnivorous.

Genus- Odontomachus

Scientific name- Odontomachus bauri

Location- tropical South America, West Indies, and the Galapagos Islands


7) Red Wood Ant

Red Wood Ant

The Red Wood Ants, or Formica rufa, is a large ant species with a characteristic brownish-black color and a dark patch in their hind region. These ants are generally 5-9 mm in length and primarily feed on honeydew secreted by aphids.

The Red Wood Ants are known far and wide for their defense mechanism, which is spraying of formic acid from their abdomen.

Genus- Formica

Scientific name- Formica rufa

Location- It is native to Europe and Anatolia; also found in North America


6) Cephalotes atratus

Cephalotes atratus

The Cephalotes atratus, with an average length of 8-13 mm, is the 7th Biggest ant in the world. The Queen of this species may attain a body length of 23 mm.

These are primarily herbivores, with pollen occupying a major share of their diet. These species are characterized by the presence of two angular spines on their heads.

Genus- Cephalotes

Scientific name– Cephalotes atratus

Location- South American Rainforests like Argentina, Brazil, Panama, etc


5) Carpenter Ant

Carpenter Ant

The upcoming species are undoubtedly some of the Largest Ants in the world. In the 5th position, with an average body length of 10-25 mm, we have the Carpenter Ants.

These ants derive their name from their habit of nesting in woods. They use their strong mandibles to create tunnels within the woods.

The Carpenter Ants consist of a wide spectrum of species that range up to thousands. They feed on a variety of stuff, which include other insects, honeydew, and nectar.

Genus- Camponotus

Scientific name- Camponotus pennsylvanicus

Location- Central and Eastern USA and Canada


4) Bullet Ant

Bullet Ant

Bullet Ants are a large species of ants, occurring up to a length of 18-30 mm for worker ants. The stings of these ants are immensely painful and are often compared to that of a bullet piercing the skin into the body, thereby earning him the name.

Their sting is the most painful one, among all insects, with an alarming rating of 4.0 on Schmidt’s Index.

Genus- Paraponera

Scientific name– Paraponera clavata

Location- inhabitants of humid lowland rainforests in Central and South America


3) Giant Bull Ant

Giant Bull Ant

Now it’s time for the Top Three on this list. Therefore, in this 3rd position, we have the Giant Bull Ants. These species are quite enormous, with an average body length of workers being 28-30 mm. 

They pose quite large mandibles, which they use to catch their prey or as defense weapons. Red Bull Ants are known for their potent sting, and the pain can last up to c couple of days.

Genus- Myrmecia

Scientific name- Myrmecia gulosa

Location- Mostly found in the Australian Capital Territory and the Murray-Darling Basin


2) Giant Forest Ant

Giant Forest Ant

The Giant Forest Ants comprise the 2nd Biggest ants in the world. These ants grow up to a size of 21 mm for workers, while the soldiers may grow up to an enormous length of 28 mm.

Despite their gigantic size, they are primarily honeydew feeders and are found to harvest aphids. However, their diet may sometimes shift to a carnivorous one when they hunt for smaller or dead insects. The head and thorax are mostly black, while the abdomen takes a darker shade of red.

Genus- Dinomyrmex

Scientific name- Dinomyrmex gigas

Location- native to Southeast Asian forests


1) Dinoponera or Giant Amazonian Ants

Dinoponera

Genus- Dinoponera

Scientific name-Dinoponera gigantea.

Location– Eastern slope of the Andes, Ecuador, and south through Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina

The Dinoponera gigantea is the Largest Ant in the world. Commonly known as the Giant Amazonian Ants, they are giants in the true sense. They grow up to an enormous length of 1.3-1.6 inches, with the females being much larger than the males.

These ants are widespread in the South American Rainforests and are coal-black in color. They forage mostly on seeds and plant products but may sometimes shift their diet to smaller animals like snails, spiders, and other insects.


Special Mention:

Dorylus Gribodoi Ant Queen

Dorylus Gribodoi Ant

Apart from the list of Largest Ants in the world, a special mention goes to the Queens of Army Ants, belonging to the Genus Dorylus. The Queens of Dorylus Gribodoi is the largest known living ant, with a size range of nearly 1.6- 2.5 in (40-65 mm). 

Their heads are quite large, equipped with strong mandibles, which are as sharp as a scissor. The Queen’s primary function is to lay eggs and carry the generation forward.

The Dorylus Ant’s colonies have only one queen, who may lay up to 1,000,000 eggs a month.

Here, we conclude our article on the Top 15 biggest ant species in the world. We will be back with more of such interesting articles shortly. So stay tuned, or you can even read our other articles on the website.

Image Source: Wkipedia


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