Titanomyrma was a genus of giant ant that lived in the Eocene. Well preserved fossils of T. gigantea and T. simillima were discovered in the Messel shales, near the village of Messel, in the state of Hessen, 30 km south of Frankfurt am Main (Darmstadt Administrative District), in Germany. A related undescribed species has been found in the nearby Eckfeld Maar.
The name of the genus is a derivative of the Greek Τιτάν ('Titan'), meaning 'one of prodigious size, strength, or achievement', and alluding to the Titans of Greek mythology; and the Greek word μύρμηξ ('myrmex') meaning 'ant', gender feminine. The specific epithet of the new species is formed from the surname of the collector of the holotype, Louis Lube.
Titanomyrma giganteum is the biggest ant species that ever lived on earth. The workers were 1-3cm long, but queens were 5.5cm long with a wingspan of 13cm.
In Walking with... series
Titanomyrma appeared in the first episode of Walking with Beasts (they are named Giants Ants, where they had successfully attacked and killed a Gastornis chick. Just like their real-life counterparts, the giant ants of WWB died-out at the end of the Eocene epoch, when the global jungles vanished, and the global oxygen levels and temperatures dropped.
- It is the only giant bug featured in the Walking with... series that is not from the Carboniferous period.
- The name of the species is not in the series, but the Walking with Beasts Companion Book explains it is Formicium giganteum. This species is now in the Titanomyrma genus.