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The hairy panther ant is a genus of Neoponera ants belonging to the Formicidae family. Its scientific name Neoponera villosa was given by Johan Christian Fabricius, a Danish zoologist in 1804. These ants are neotropical and can be found across south and north America, brazil, bolivia, costa Rica, Argentina. These ants were given another scientific name, Pachycondyla villosa, after further studies in taxonomy and entomology. Common names given to the species include the greater texas bullet ant, cobra ant, and giant hunting ant. These ants have one of the most painful stings among the insects of the Animalia kingdom. Unlike other species of ants that spray formic acid, these ants will grasp your skin, bite through and then inject their venom with their stinger, causing immediate pain and swelling. Ant venom in general is a mixture of complex compounds, used by these insects mainly for defense. Research and studies conducted on the species have shown that venom released by Neoponera villosa ants is cytolytic, hemolytic, antimicrobial, and insecticidal. Neoponera villosa ants respond differently to different prey and predators and do not always use their stinger.
The hairy panther ant, like its name suggests, is an ant belonging to the Animalia kingdom. They are also called greater texas bullet ant, cobra ant, and giant hunting ant
These ants belong to the Insecta class from the order of Hymenoptera.
We do not have accurate data about their population size.
These ants are mostly endemic to neotropical regions including South and North America. The main areas of their population are concentrated in Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, and Guyana.
Their habitat includes tropical rainforest, dry forest, and open grassland. This species nest in hard trees, dead branches, and trunks, under barks, and even in rotting logs on the ground. They prefer living in lowland forests and have excellent adaptability to various climatic conditions.
These ants live in colonies. Compared to other ants, they have smaller colony sizes. These colonies can be haplometrotic, found by a single queen, or pleometrotic, found by multiple queens. After a colony is established the ants are divided into behavioral classes; male workers or soldiers, female workers, and queens. Each has a specific task, which they carry out until they die, the soldiers and workers build the colony, protect and look after the larvae, and the queens lay eggs. Nests are usually established by two or more queens, after asserting dominance over the labor class ants.
The queen ant can live up to four or five years, whereas, male worker ants die just days after mating.
These ants reproduce sexually. When a colony is established, the queen ants lay eggs regularly. The queens select and use retained sperm cells, stored since the nuptial flight, they lay unfertilized or fertilized eggs based on the cyclic needs of a colony. The sex of each ant is determined by whether the egg is fertilized or unfertilized. Female worker ants are born from fertilized eggs and male workers are born from unfertilized eggs. If the fertilized eggs are given rich and nutritious food, the female larvae can potentially become a queen. The egg-laying rate of a single founding or hunter queen does not differ from groups with two queens, the group with three queen ants, however, lay significantly fewer eggs. Only one queen from the old colony can leave to establish a new colony. Within pleometrotic groups (a colony found by multiple queens) the number of eggs laid by the queens do not differ. Thus, pachycondyla villosa have one of the rarest reproductive cases, where pleometrosis can lead to primary polygyny, where the queens co-exist without displaying antagonistic behavior towards each other.
The IUNC Red List of Threatened Species has Not Evaluated the species.
Neoponera villosa can be differentiated from other ants by the anterior margin of its clypeus, which is medially concave, and by its vertical, convex, broad, and round head. Worker ants are lean, or slim, and medium to large, whereas the queens are larger, bulky, and winged. They are covered in beautiful green-gold shades, legs and arms are green-black, the mesosomal dorsum has erect hairs, the propodeal spiracle is slit-shaped, they have approximately 13 teeth. They have antennae, pincers, and claws just like other ants.
They are not cute at all! In fact, they are scary and unpleasant to look at.
Communication between hairy panther ant (Neoponera villosa) has not been researched enough to provide information exclusive only to them. However, ants, in general, communicate via pheromones, visual, and vocal signals that cannot be heard by humans. They sense the pheromones with their antennae, which analyzes and provides information about the scent picked up by them and which direction it's coming from. Pheromones are generally used to make trails so that all the ants of a colony move and stay together. However, when an ant is in danger it emits an alerting pheromone to call all nearby ants, to attack whatever threat is present there. Information about various things is also passed through the entire colony with the help of pheromones. Ants remember the scent of every other ant in their colony.
The hairy panther ants are one of the largest species found in North America, and they are 0.2-0.7 in (0.6-1.9 cm) in size.
The bullfrog is nearly eight times the size of the Neoponera villosa.
While we do not have information on its speed rate, these ants have great speed, quick reflexes and usually travel and gather food in small groups.
These ants weigh approximately 1.5-2.4 oz (45-70 g).
Dominant female ants are called queens and the remaining members are called are male or female workers.
A baby hairy panther ant is called larvae.
These ants are omnivorous and eat anything they find including leaves, seeds, insects, nectar, small living or dead invertebrates, and honeydew.
An anteater is the natural enemy and predator of these ants.
These ants are aggressive and will attack you if they consider you as a threat or a predator, their sting is painful and feels like being stabbed by a sharp hot needle. The pain reduces after 30 - 40 minutes, but the swelling or rash stays for a few days and stays red much longer than a bee or wasp sting would have. This species has the second most painful sting in the insect kingdom, placed before bullet ants.
Yes, they are easy to feed and look after, but be careful not to get stung and take necessary precautions. A big black ant bite like this will cause red swelling and pain.
A sting from a pachycondyla villosa is similar to that of the tarantula hawk.
Ants have excellent memory skills and are considered to be super-organisms.
There are more than 12,000 species of ants all over the world.
Queen ants can lay about 900 eggs per day!
These ants have many natural enemies and predators including birds, such as sparrows, grouse, mammals like the armadildo, antilions, and various spiders.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these caterpillar facts or northern black widow spider facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable hairy panther ant coloring pages.
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