A trap-jaw ant...

...because badass mandibles are in style this season:


Odontomachus turneri, Australia

photo details:
Canon EOS 50D camera
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens
ISO 100, f/13, 1/250sec

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To find something about the habits of this critter, I searched and found a Factsheet with this discussion:

Darwin Bull Ant (Odontomachus turneri) 7.0-10.0 mm, black all over (native species).

The Darwin bull ant is one of the largest species in the Darwin area. They are predators of small
invertebrates and capture prey with their large mandibles (tooth-like jaws). Stings from these ants can be
very painful and may cause local swelling. These ants may be seen foraging on the ground or on low
vegetation. Nests are usually in soil, mulch or rotten wood on the ground.

Given that the photo of Odontomachus turneri in the Factsheet shows the same coloration as your photo, I wondered how the author came to describe the species as "black all over."

By Bob Carlson (not verified) on 10 May 2010 #permalink

I've never heard "darwin bull ant" for this species, as Bull Ants are normally a separate group, Myrmecia, in another subfamily.

Alan Andersen's list of common names considers O. turneri to be a "Giant Snappy Ant".

Personally, I'd be happy calling this the Northern Trap-jaw Ant.

I want to see some more picture of this year's mandibular styles!

By James C. Trager (not verified) on 10 May 2010 #permalink

Re Odontomachus and Myrmecia, why does it seem like Nearctic ants are so mundane?

By Bob Carlson (not verified) on 11 May 2010 #permalink

We have several Odontomachus, Amblyopone, Strumigenys, Polyergus spp. with some not-at-all-mundane mandibles. Just gotta look close.

By James C. Trager (not verified) on 11 May 2010 #permalink

My mandibles are sooo 2009. *Sigh*

By Peter Coffey (not verified) on 13 May 2010 #permalink

These things come in cycles, Peter. I'm sure yours will be tastefully retro by, oh, 2029 or so.