Jumping ant

Jumping ant Harpegnathos saltator World distribution map jumping ants

 

Scientific names

Harpegnathos saltator (India),  Myrmecia sp. (Australia).


Introduction

Most ants can't jump, however, a few species have the abiltiy to jump. Indias Harpegnathos saltator, also known as 'Jerdons jumping ant', can jump up to 18cm which helps it catch prey. Australias Myrmecia sp, also known as 'bull ants', 'jack jumpers' or 'hopper ants' can jump too.

 

These ants have many similarities. They have large mandibles, large eyes and a strong sting all of which aid hunting. They forage individually, even though they live in colonies. Fights between ants of the same colony often break out.
Gamergates are very rare and are known to exist in both 'Harpegnathos saltator' and 'Myrmecia pyriformis'. This is where a female worker ant has the ability to mate and reproduce, thus sustaining the colony after the loss of the queen.

 

Although these ants appear similar and have similar 'rare' traites not often found in ants, they are from different sub famies: Harpegnathos saltator being 'Ponerinae' and Myrmecia sp being 'Myrmeciinae'.

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Location

India's Harpegnathos saltator nest is found in small mounds in the ground, they close the nest entrance at night.

Australia's Myrmecia sp normally nest under rocks or make nests from fine gravel.


Queen

Queens of jumping ants look similar to the workers and are very hard to differnetiate.


Workers

Up to 40mm. Workers come in a range of colours including oranges, yellows, reds, browns and blacks.

 

Diet

These ants catch and eat small insects, honeydew, seeds, fruit, fungi, and nectar.


Colony size

These ants are often seen individually or in a small group. Their colonies are very small.


Risk level 3

These ants are aggressive, they have a very strong bite and sting.


Pet level 3

The sting and aggression of these ants makes keeping these ants risky. They are however very interesting to watch and smaller colony sizes can make keeping them more practical.