Check out those mandibles! Bullant soldier from Mammoth Caves, Western Australia. © Solpugid Productions 2011

Bull ants (also known as bulldog ants) are large ants that are found all over Australia. According to the Australian Museum, there are 90 species in the genus Myrmecia and possibly several that are not yet named. Check out those long, straight mandibles as a defining feature of these ants! They aggressively protect their nests and can have a painful sting. I took this shot right before this bullant jumped straight at my camera lens, to tell me to back off. Their nest was located in the middle of a hiking trail near a cave system in Western Australia, south of Perth. As I walked away, she followed me down the trail, just to make sure I was leaving. Incredible!

More to come from Australia soon!– Kristie