Solenopsis invicta - Red Imported Fire Ant stinging
Texas, USA

photograph © Alex Wild 2006

Fire ants are well known for the ferocity of their defensive behavior.  To sting, an ant anchors herself by grabbing hold with her mandibles and jabs at her target with her sting, located at the tip of the abdomen.  The stinger is used to inject a venom that produces most of the distinct pain associated with fire ant stings.  In contrast, the bite of the mandibles may itch somewhat but does not itself leave a lasting effect. 

USA TX Travis Co.: Austin
140m 30º17´N 97º47´W 20.xi.2006

This image is copyrighted by the photographer and cannot be used without permission. To obtain permission to use this image, please email Alex Wild. (alwild (at)  Most of the photographs on are reduced from their original size and compressed for more efficient web transmission.  In some cases, higher quality versions are available.

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 20D, using a Canon 65/2.8 MPE 1-5x Macro lens.