“Bullet Ant” © by chriswalts, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
On the face of the Earth, there is a vast amount of painful things known to humankind. One of those things, or more specifically one of those stings is from the Bullet Ant. These ants are most commonly found in Central America, in humid and warm rainforest environments. The Bullet Ant is known for its notorious sting that will make you cripple in pain. Its name was given from the comparison of its sting to a bullet.
The ants live in worker colonies with the Queen among the colonies. The Queen is generally bigger than the worker ants. When a Bullet Ant stings you, a venom enters your body. This extremely painful venom is a toxin known as poneratoxin. Poneratoxin is a toxin that is known to paralyze you by inactivating your voltage gated sodium ion channels in your skeletal muscle, which blocks the central nervous system. The following results are shaking, nausea, vomiting, fevers, and changing heart rates. The effects last for 24 hours, but are not lethal in humans. However, smaller animals may not be so lucky and can die as a result of the sting.
Furthermore, the Bullet Ant can also release chemicals when they sting to warn other ants of the danger. Sometimes, other Bullet Ants will also assist and will sting as well. This chemical is known as a pheromone, which is a chemical that secretes social alarm signals to nearby ants. Pheromones are also released by humans.
While ants seem pretty harmless and tiny, they can pack a punch when provoked. It’s always a good idea to take precaution when interacting with insects.
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