Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)
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Paraponera clavata is a common and conspicuous inhabitant of lowland moist and wet habitats in much of the neotropics. It is commonly known as the bullet ant because of its very painful sting, or the giant tropical ant because of its large size, up to 2.5 cm in length. It is also noteworthy on account of its taxonomic position. Its behavior and ecological relations have been relatively well studied, providing a window into the adaptive tools available to ants as they evolve.
P. clavata is the single known member of the subfamily Paraponerinae . For many years, based on superficial similarities, it was placed in the Ectatomminae, where it was thought to be most closely related to the genera Ectatomma and Rhytidoponera. Molecular studies have since revealed a substantial distance between Paraponera and the ectatommines, with Paraponeracloser to the subfamily Ponerinae and the Ectatomminae closer to the Myrmicinae. This distinction is important, because...
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