What is the largest ant in the world?

The largest ants in the world belong to one of three genera: Dinoponera gigantea, Rhytidoponera titanina, and Myrmecia pandava.

The largest ant ever measured was discovered by Australian scientists in 1990. They estimate that it reached an incredible 1.6 inches, but sadly since then, there has not been another specimen found on this scale. That does NOT mean there are not bigger than before, though! There are more than 12 million species of ants on this planet, and many of them have yet to be discovered.

The genus Dinoponera gigantea is the most well-known of these ants, having been documented reaching lengths up to an inch. They are sometimes called giant hunting ants or just plain “giant” ants for this reason. The queen can grow even larger than that, but their colonies do not produce queens as large as this size.

Rhytidoponera titanina is the second most well-known of the three genera mentioned here, and is closely related to Dinoponera gigantea. It grows up to half an inch in length during its reproductive stage, but it lives much shorter than its cousin. The average life span is a month, but this varies from ant to ant. These ants can be found in New Guinea and Australia.

Myrmecia pandava is the last of these three genera, and unfortunately, it hasn’t been studied much. This makes it hard to determine the exact length of the largest specimens, but there have been some documented up to almost 0.4 inches in length. The queens can be up to twice this size, but they are much harder to find and do not leave the nest often because of their stationary nature. Myrmecia pandava is found in Australia and Tasmania, and its sting is said to be ten times stronger than that of a wasp or bee.

There are many other species that can grow larger than these three ants, but they are much harder to find because of their smaller colonies and secretive behavior. Researchers in the future may still discover even bigger ants out there! But until then these three genera will remain the largest known.

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