Trap-Jaw Ants

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Trap-jaws are highly modified, spring-loaded mandibles which snap shut with tremendous speed and power. They are primarily used for prey capture but in some species have a defensive defensive role. The jaws are commonly held in an open position and are released when trigger hairs, which extend forward from the anterior margin of the head capsule, encounter a prey item.

Trap-jaws have evolved independently several times in ants and are found in the subfamilies Formicinae, Myrmicinae and Ponerinae.

Genera containing species with trap-jaws