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Hairy Panther Ant (Neoponera villosa)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Hairy Panther Ant



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Image Credit: Manzeal Khanal, taken in Uvalde, TX
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A large, lean ant, the Hairy Panther is a tropical hunter that can bite and sting.



Updated: 07/06/2021; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Found in southern Texas, all of Mexico and beyond, the Hairy Panther Ant is a big one, one of the largest in North America, and it is covered in fine hairs. The mouth parts are huge and obvious, and they are capable of grabbing and pinching all sorts of insects, sometimes many at once. A stinger at the tip of the abdomen can inflict a really painful blow to people, so handling this ant is not recommended.

It is an active hunter that roams trees and the upper canopy for prey, usually by itself. It also takes nectar to bring back for hungry larvae. It is a strong defender of its colony, which is typically built in a wooden stump, rotting logs, or in the ground. Tread carefully in tropical forests to avoid accidentally stepping on a colony, and examine tree trunks for this hard-to-miss species.




General Characteristics
Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect stinger icon


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Taxonomic Hierarchy
Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Hymenoptera
        Family: Formicidae
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          Genus: Neoponera
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            Species: villosa
Identifying Information
Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Neoponera villosa
Other Name(s): Giant Hunting Ant; Cobra Ant; Greater Texas Bullet Ant
Category: Bee, Ant, Wasp and Similar
Size (Adult; Length): 10mm to 20mm (0.39" to 0.78")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; brown; gold
Descriptors: big; long; skinny; slender; hairs; dusty; fangs; pincers; mouth; bite; sting;
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Relative Size Comparison
Typical Size Between 10mm (0.4in) and 20mm (0.8in)
Lo: 10mm
Md: 15mm
Hi: 20mm
Territorial Map*
U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
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Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Hairy Panther Ant may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Hairy Panther Ant. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.

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