Top 15+ Biggest Ants in the World (Largest Ants 2023) | Updated

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 with 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 15+ Biggest Ants in the world.

Top 15+ Biggest Ants in the World

16) Red Harvester Ants

Red Harvester Ants
Red Harvester Ants


Scientific Name Pogonomyrmes barbatus
Size 6-7 mm
Color Orangish-red, maroon
Location native to the Southwestern United States

On the 16th 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 inflammation and allergies.

15) Red Wood Ant

Red Wood Ant
Red Wood Ant
Scientific Name Formica rufa
Size 4.5-9 mm
Color head and thorax are colored red and the abdomen brownish-black
Location native to Europe and Anatolia; also found in North America

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 formic acid from their abdomen.

14) Ectatomma ruidum

Ectatomma ruidum
Ectatomma ruidum | Credit: April Nobile / © / CC BY-SA 3.0
Scientific Name Ectatomma ruidum
Size 7-9 mm, and the large queen 11-12 mm
Color Dark reddish brown to blackish brown
Location from southern Mexico to Brazil

Ectatomma ruidum are medium-sized ants with a wide range of distribution from southern Mexico to Brazil, including Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guadeloupe, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana.

They have a simple nest (just a hole in the ground) and can be found easily where the sun is exposed. These ants mainly feed on nectar but don’t solely depend on it and are capable of adapting according to the available resources.

13) Formica fusca

Formica fusca
Formica fusca | Credit: Mathias Krumbholz commons.wikimedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Scientific Name Formica fusca
Size 8-10 mm, (0.3–0.4 in)
Color brownish-black
Location Europe, Southern Asia, and Africa

Next on our list of the 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 feeds on honeydew, moth larvae, and nectar. They usually make their nests below old tree stumps or under stones and boulders.

12) Weaver Ants

Weaver Ants
Weaver Ants
Scientific Name Oecophylla smaragdina
Size 8-10 mm (0.31–0.39 in)
Color reddish to yellowish brown
Location Africa, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia

Green ants, commonly known as Weaver ants, are the 12th largest ants on the list. 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.

11) Banded Sugar Ants

Banded Sugar Ants
Banded Sugar Ants | Credit: Benjamint444 (commons.wikimedia) (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Scientific Name Camponotus consobrinus
Size 4 to 16 mm
Color Black with orange-brown bands
Location Eastern Australia

Let’s start the list with Banded Sugar Ants. These ants are medium-sized, generally occurring in lengths of a wide range from 4mm to 16mm.

The average life span of workers-ant is up to seven years, whereas a queen can live up to 15 years. These ants are primarily nectar feeders but may sometimes forage on aphids, moth larvae, cockroaches, and beetles.

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.

The Banded Sugar Ants get their name from their affinity towards sugar, which they retrieve from aphids.

10) Black Carpenter Ant

Black Carpenter Ant
Black Carpenter Ant
Scientific Name Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Size 14-17 mm, Queen: 19-21 mm
Color black
Location Central and Eastern USA and Canada

The upcoming species are undoubtedly some of the largest ants in the world. In the 10th position, with an average body length of 10-25 mm, we have the Black 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.

9) Leafcutter Ant

Leafcutter Ant
Leafcutter Ant
Scientific Name Atta cephalotes
Size 3-23 mm, and queen 29-30 mm
Color brownish-orange
Location South and Central America

The species of Leafcutter Ants, Atta cephalotes, are very beautiful ants predominately in bright orange color. They have a wide range of lengths where the shortest worker-ant can be 3mm whereas the largest soldier-ant can reach up to 23mm.

These leafcutter ants are very special because they cut many different types of leaves to feed fungi and help them to grow. And they also feed only on leaves.

8) Trap-Jaw Ants

Trap-Jaw Ants
Trap-Jaw Ants | Credit: Bernard DUPONT (@flickr)
Scientific Name Odontomachus bauri
Size 4-20 mm
Color dark reddish brown
Location tropical South America, West Indies, and the Galapagos Islands

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 that 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.

7) Siafu Ants

siafu ants
Siafu ants | Credit: Nikhil More commons.wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Dorylus gribodoi
Size 10-20mm
Color Red, brown, and black
Location Widespread distribution; found in almost all continents

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.

6) Cephalotes atratus

Cephalotes atratus
Cephalotes atratus | Credit: Eduardo Estrada, Wildlife & Conservation Photography commons.wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Scientific Name Formica rufa
Size 8-20 mm
Color black
Location South American Rainforests like Argentina, Brazil, and Panama

The Cephalotes atratus, with an average length of 8-20 mm, is the 6th biggest ant on the list. 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.

5) Matabele Ant

Matabele Ant
Matabele Ant | Credit: Daniel Kronauer (antwiki)
Scientific Name Megaponera analis
Size 5-25 mm
Color shiny black
Location throughout sub-Saharan Africa

Matabele Ants are one of the largest species of ants where some individuals reaching up to 25mm in length. They primarily feed on termites and love to nest in abandoned termite hills.

Their colony comprises 440 to 2300 adult ants. Also, Mataele ants are known for their helpful behavior. They save the injured ants and provide them with treatment.

4) Bullet Ant

Bullet Ant
Bullet Ant
Scientific Name Paraponera clavata
Size 18-30 mm
Color reddish-black
Location inhabitants of humid lowland rainforests in Central and South America

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.

3) Giant Forest Ant

Scientific Name Dinomyrmex gigas
Size 20-30 mm
Color dark red, light brown & black
Location the rainforest in Southeast Asia from Thailand, Sumatra, Borneo, Malaysia to Singapore

The Giant Forest Ants comprise the 3rd biggest ants on the list. These ants grow a size of 21 mm for workers, while the soldiers may grow an enormous length of 28 mm on average.

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.

2) Giant Bull Ant

Giant Bull Ant
Giant Bull Ant | Credit: Ken Giffiths (australiangeographic)
Genus Myrmecia
Size 8-40 mm
Color bright red or orange & black
Location Mostly found in the Australian Capital Territory and the Murray-Darling Basin

Giant Bull Ants are quite enormous, with an average body length of workers being 28-40 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 a couple of days.

1) Dinoponera or Giant Amazonian Ants

Giant Amazonian Ants
Giant Amazonian Ants | Credit: Alex Wild (@Wired)
Scientific Name Dinoponera gigantea
Size 30-40.64 mm, (1.2–1.6 in)
Color coal-black, dark red
Location Eastern slope of the Andes, Ecuador, and south through Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina

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

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 such interesting articles shortly. So stay tuned, or you can even read our other articles on the website.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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