Thursday, November 29, 2012


The Paraponera clavata is privileged to be the animal that causes most painful sting. Also called bullet ant because they say that their bite hurts so much as a shot. Another name that perfectly describe the ant 24 hours, and that is what does the pain of the bite.

The ant, found in Nicaragua and Paraguay, reach up to 25 mm and live on the bases of trees. It was first described by Joseph Charles Bequaert (1886-1982). It is said that pain causes 30 times that of a wasp. Those who have been described as "waves of burning pain and throbbing that does not stop within 24 hours" or "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Similar to walk on hot coals with a seven inch needle stuck on your heel. "

Entomologist Justin Schmidt created a pain scale ranging from 1 to 4, where the first level classification would be the aforementioned wasp sting. While the fire ant and Africanized honey bees are a pain factor of 1.2 and 2, respectively, reached Paraponera factor 4.

The cause of this pain is a neurotoxin, the poneratoxina, the main active compound in the venom, as described in the early 1990s when investigating natural substances that could be used in insecticides. The impulses block poneratoxina central nervous system of insects and is an agonist that causes contractions of long duration in mammals. Some sources say it will take about 30 bites per kilogram to be fatal. Luckily only administered this poison when you feel uncomfortable or threatened, always on alert by emitting a musky-smelling substance.

Besides color, the bite has more consequences among which are a fever that may last three days or necrosis of the affected area. Other signs and symptoms include severe pain in the affected area, swelling, tremors, sweating, nausea, increased temperature and paralysis. A second bite may be able to cause a fatal anaphylactic shock, which does not seem concerned with the tribe of Sateré-Mawé. The Sateré-Mawé are a tribe from the jungles of the Amazon that has a peculiar rite of bravery. In the ritual, a young man must put your hand in a glove full of Paraponera. If it passes the test, the young will become a warrior. The drawback is that it should receive the not inconsiderable sum of 20 bites.

The Indians have used these ants as a treatment for rheumatism and related disorders for centuries. Curiously, the ant's jaws serve as suture, closing the wound, while the saliva inflamed skin and seal tightly.


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