fire ant
any of several omnivorous ants, as the migrant Solenopsis geminata originating in tropical and subtropical South America, having a sting that produces a burning sensation.
[1790-1800]

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Any of a genus (Solenopsis) of insects in the ant family, several species of which are common in southern North America.

They are red or yellowish and can inflict a severe sting. The semipermanent nest consists of a loose mound with open craters for ventilation. The workers (see caste) are notorious for damaging planted grain and attacking poultry.

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insect
also called  thief ant 
 any of a genus of insects in the family Formicidae, order Hymenoptera, that occur in tropical regions of the world, such as Central and South America, and in some temperate regions, such as North America. The best-known member of the genus, the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis saevissima, also known as S. invicta), was accidentally introduced into the United States from South America. The red or yellowish ants are one to five millimetres in length and can inflict a severe sting. The semipermanent nest consists of a loose mound with open craters for ventilation. The workers are notorious for damaging planted grain and attacking poultry. Fire ants communicate through chemical secretions and stridulation (sounds produced by rubbing or drumming one body part against another). While adult workers are known for their aggressive behaviour when under the threat of attack from neighbouring ant colonies, young fire ants, whose stingers and external skeletons are not yet fully developed, play dead.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • fire ant — ant n any ant of the genus Solenopsis esp IMPORTED FIRE ANT * * * 1. any ant of the genus Solenopsis. 2. any ant with a fierce sting …   Medical dictionary

  • fire ant — n a type of insect that lives in groups. They build large piles of earth to live in, and can give a very painful bite …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • fire ant — fire′ ant n. ent any of several omnivorous ants having a burning sting • Etymology: 1790–1800 …   From formal English to slang

  • fire ant — n. any of a genus (Solenopsis) of ants whose sting causes a burning sensation, esp. a South American species ( S. invicta) that has become a severe pest in the S U.S …   English World dictionary

  • Fire ant — Taxobox image caption = Solenopsis queens and workers image width = 250px regnum = Animalia phylum = Arthropoda classis = Insecta ordo = Hymenoptera subordo = Apocrita familia = Formicidae subfamilia = Myrmicinae tribus = Solenopsidini genus =… …   Wikipedia

  • fire ant — noun omnivorous ant of tropical and subtropical America that can inflict a painful sting • Hypernyms: ↑ant, ↑emmet, ↑pismire • Member Holonyms: ↑Solenopsis, ↑genus Solenopsis * * * noun : a stinging ant; …   Useful english dictionary

  • fire ant — noun Date: 1796 any of a genus (Solenopsis) of fiercely stinging omnivorous ants; especially imported fire ant …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • fire ant — /ˈfaɪər ænt/ (say fuyuhr ant) noun a small red ant, Solenopsis invicta, with a painful burning sting, native to South America, and introduced into the southern United States in the 1930s; in 2001 established in Australia in the Brisbane region; a …   Australian English dictionary

  • fire ant — n. omnivorous ant that causes a painful burning sting found in South America and the southern United States …   English contemporary dictionary

  • fire ant — noun a tropical American ant with a painful sting. [Solenopsis invicta and other species.] …   English new terms dictionary

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