Large ants: May 2012 Archives

Hey guys!

Just got a short question. I and a friend of mine were walking down the street a couple of days ago, when suddenly we saw this big ant walking on the pavement. Could you tell me what kind of ant it is?
Some extra information, we live in The Netherlands, Europe, maybe that could be of any help for you!

Sincerely,
Steffan
bigant.JPG
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Hi Steffan,

Great find! The picture you sent in is actually not an ant at all, but a beetle from the family Meloidae, likely from the genus Meloe.
Several species do occur throughout Europe, although without a better look at this beauty, I can't say definitively what species this is.
They are also commonly called blister beetles or oil beetles due to their ability to release oily droplets containing a poisonous chemical compound called cantharidin. When this chemical comes in contact with skin, it can cause painful blisters and swelling of the affected area. If ingested, it can prove lethal but will otherwise cause nasty gastrointestinal or renal problems. This is the same compound found in Spanish fly, and the potential for unfortunate side effects or death is the main reason it is banned in many countries.

Best wishes,
Rebekah Baquiran & the AntAsk Team