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Encyclopedia of Social Insects

Living Edition
| Editors: Christopher K. Starr

Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)

  • Michael D. BreedEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90306-4_67-1
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Synonyms

Giant tropical ant

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 [11]. 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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References

  1. 1.
    Baader, A. P. (1996). The significance of visual landmarks for navigation of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata (Formicidae, Ponerinae). Insectes Sociaux, 43, 435–450.
  2. 2.
    Bosmia, A. N., Tubbs, R. S., Griessenauer, C. J., & Haddad, V. (2015). Ritualistic envenomation by bullet ants among the Satere-Mawe Indians in the Brazilian Amazon. Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, 26, 271–273.
  3. 3.
    Breed, M. D., & Harrison, J. (1988). Caste in the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, 61, 285–290.
  4. 4.
    Breed, M. D., Fewell, J. H., Moore, A. J., & Williams, K. (1987). Modulated recruitment in a ponerine ant. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 20, 407–411.
  5. 5.
    Breed, M. D., Stiller, T. M., Fewell, J. F., & Harrison, J. M. (1991). Territoriality and nestmate discrimination in the giant tropical ant. Biotropica, 23, 301–306.
  6. 6.
    Brown, B. V., & Feener, D. H. (1991). Behavior and host location cues of Apocephalus paraponerae (Diptera: Phoridae), a parasitoid of the giant tropical ant, Paraponera clavata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae). Biotropica, 23, 182–187.
  7. 7.
    Fewell, J. H., Harrison, J. F., Lighton, J. R. B., & Breed, M. D. (1996). Foraging energetics in of the ant, Paraponera clavata. Oecologia, 105, 419–427.
  8. 8.
    Harrison, J. F., Fewell, J. H., Stiller, T. M., & Breed, M. D. (1989). Effects of experience on use of orientation cues in the giant tropical ant. Animal Behaviour, 37, 869–871.
  9. 9.
    McGlynn, T. P., & Parra, E. L. (2016). Mechanisms of carbohydrate-fuelled ecological dominance in a tropical rainforest canopy-foraging ant. Ecological Entomology, 41, 226–230.
  10. 10.
    Schmidt, J. O. (2018). Clinical consequences of toxic envenomations by Hymenoptera. Toxicon, 150, 96–104.
  11. 11.
    Ward, P. S. (2014). The phylogeny and evolution of ants. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics, 45, 23–43.

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyThe University of Colorado, BoulderBoulderUSA