Tuesday, May 05, 2009

24 hours in a day

Sometimes, of late, I've wished that there were more than 24 hours in a day - there seems to be an awful lot I want to do and not enough time to do it. Anyway that mini-whinge was really just a way to segue into this little monster (the venezuela posts are going to be roughly a 50-50 split between gorgeous birds/fluffy mammals and the sort of beasties that have their own 50's B-movies):
24 hour ant

This is (I'm told) the "24 hour ant" (see what I did there?) which is in the bullet ant genus. I think this is Paraponerva clavata but I'm really not sure. Why 24 hours ant? Well because those front mandibles will give you 24 hours of painful misery if it clamps on. Good name; simple and it makes sense really (almost as good as the hundred pacer). According to wikipedia "A paralyzing neurotoxic peptide isolated from the venom is poneratoxin. The bullet ant's bite is so powerful that if it bites an object that is too hard to break, the ant will be flung into the air from the force of its jaws." Even more awesome is the fact that these bad boys rank number in the one Schmidt Sting Pain Index. The what? Well basically this guy Justin O. Schmidt has been stung by pretty much everything in his work as an entymologist and made a scale of the pain inflicted. Fire Ants are 1.2, Honey Bees 2.0 and these things? 4.0+. To quote Schmidt "Pure, intense, brilliant pain. Like fire-walking over flaming charcoal with a 3-inch rusty nail in your heel."

I weighed all this up and when it ran off decided not to shepherd it back onto the path for another photo.

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