Thursday, October 09, 2008

Little Bastards

PA080226
The Aussie bull ant (Myrmecia sp).

When it comes to poisonous critters we've got the 'est': most venomous etc. Even the bloody platypus is venomous. Now the Brown Snake may be all the rage: 1, 2, 3, 4 and certainly has a rather cool - hay I'm one of the dedliest snakes in the world - kind of thing going for its image and sure, bull ants are not in that league of poisonousness as say a box jellyfish, nore do they swarm in insane numbers like green tree ants but at up to 30mm long (3cm or 1.2 inches for you non SI types) and each and every one of them delivering a sting from their mandibles and multiple stings from their hypodermic tail sting, these guys are not to be fucked with. At 3 (out of 4) on the Starr sting pain scale that's about as bad as it gets. They aggressively chase you, can jump and whilst usually solitary, they will swarm if you are stupid or unlucky and stand on a nest.
They are responsible for more deaths than snake bite, shark attack, spider bite and crock attack combined.
They are primitive and pre-date the separation of wasps from ants.
There is a larger one - black with yellow pincers, 40mm long, that is absolutely solitary and is much more aggressive. Whilst the photo would have been good I'm glad these were not the bigger ant as I took this photo less than 30m from my back door.

13 comments:

Tiffany Cavalli said...

Wow..! So we have an entemologist in the hood? i studied entemology for three years.. Plus pest control.. Preferred killing them.. :-) just jokin.. im bug friendly.. Did study them tho.. Do you enjoy "watching" them too..? Love Tiff

the projectivist said...

that one on the left is looking at you.
lock your doors tonight.

xl said...

[cringes at link #2]

I wouldn't want to tangle with the ants or snakes. But, jeez, a 2m, fast, aggressive, venomous brown snake. Yikes.

Memphis Steve said...

I hear they hate noxious fumes and can be chased out of their nest with gas. So, I recommend you and yours eat some Mexican food tonight and then go outside to let the wind out. This should drive the prehistoric monsters away as well as provide the entire family with some of the oldest and most reliable entertainment known to man.

Or, you know, spray some chemicals all over them and try to kill the lot. The closest thing to this that we have here are fire ants. They swarm you and then all sting you at the exact same time, creating a sensation much like being shot with a Taser gun. But they're nowhere near as large as what you've got. And I don't recall ever hearing of anyone being killed by them. Good luck with that. I have no idea what the best way to deal with monster Australia ants is, but it'd be horrible if your kids got into them.

Eostre said...

Ouch.

Also, I am no longer coming over for dinner.

I am so glad that our weather has scorched all our nature to death right now.

bunny said...

Yet another reason Australia is getting shoved to the back of my list of places to visit...

LauraDanielleDotN said...

Those are way to close to my mortal enemy: scorpions.
You made me shudder at work.

unique_stephen said...

Tiff > I always like to watch. I'm a geologist by trade, lots of physics, marine science and biochem but no entemology; unless you count the years of paleontology (my major).

the projectivist > Your right - I think that it has locked on.

XL > Don't know about the brown snake but I've got a one-eyed annaconda of love in my pants, wana' see?

Memphis > They are one of the basic components of a working ecosystem. I'll just leave them alone and try and teach the kids to stay away. Most of our nasties are fine if you don't annoy them but standing within 50cm or so of these thing counts as annoying them; they have and attitude.

unique_stephen said...

Eostre > We could find some better tasting dinner - honey ants perhaps. The first Australians ate them you know.

bunny > Just part of what make this place awesome.

Laura > They hurt much worse than a scorpion. I've had the pleasure of being stung bu both - scorpion felt like my foot had been hit by a hammer. Bull Ant like I had just immersed my leg in lava.

fingers said...

Yeah, we have some good bugs and seriously venomous snakes and horrid little marine creatures but they're a bit gay really. We totally need some big, hairy mammals with 6" teeth and claws like a handful of scissors down here.
I could die happily being ripped to shreds by a man-eating tiger but getting bitten on the helmet by a funnel-web spider is no way for a grown man to die...

unique_stephen said...

Carful Fingers - or you may just get your wish:

In the billabongs and creeks the salties will get you. The guntrees shelter drop bears and if you cool off in the ocean and manage to avoid the bluebottles, stone fish and box jellies you can take on the hammerheads, bronze whalers and great whites???? All with teeth greater than a hand span.


There were some biggish megafauna here and still would be if the Aboriginals, bless their little cotton socks, had not eaten them, like the 7m goana: Megalania prisca and the lion - Thylacoleo carnifex

Cat said...

OK I cant do bugs that size just gross...I feel something crawling on my skin...

unique_stephen said...

Could be a leach?