Finally got my hands on a decent specimen of the largest stinging ant species in Europe :D
These ants are relatives to our native 'Myrmica Rubra' which also sting but their sting is similar to a nettle, rather than Manica Rubida which is similar to a wasp sting apparently. I don't plan on annoying them to find out!
Keen and active hunters, when founding the colony, the Queen will lay her eggs and then go off to actively hunt for prey for herself and her brood. As you can see in the picture, they are a wonderful reddy/brown colour - note the additional node on the spine too - used for when the business end of the abdomen comes from behind and under the ant to deliver the sting.
Unlike some other ant species - the brood feed directly on the prey from what I've learnt. So the workers will kill prey, then drag it to the brood chamber and place the larvae next to the prey - then feeding commences.
Unlike my other ant species, I've also noticed that this species you can really tell the 3 dots on the top of the head (for light level detection apparently). My mantis also has these and it seems many other species of insect do to. Never noticed them on my Messor Barbarus or Pheidole Pallidula colonies.
Really looking forward to caring for these ants. Wish me luck!