Venom is extremely useful in the animal kingdom. With a strong venom you can take down an animal more than twice your size!
Given its name, because its bite feels like being shot with a bullet, the bullet ant has some of the worlds strongest venom in its body. Its been described as the most painful feeling the human body can withstand.
Bullet Ant Venom
A coming of ritual in brazil, young men place gloves filled with bullet ants over their hands.
For 10 minutes they allow 100s of bullet ants to sting them repeatedly. In nature these ants are extremely aggressive.
When one ant is agitated, it releases a pheromone, signalling to near by ants to bite and sting.
Lets look at the actual science behind this bite. We can clearly see the physical effects on an individual, but what causes them to react like this.
By milking these ants and extracting their venom glands, we have identified Poneratoxin as the neurotoxin in the venom.
Poneratoxin is a potent neurotoxin. Poneratoxin (PoTX) acts as an agonist. This means the toxin binds to the post synaptic terminal, causing the neurons to remain excited for longer.
PoTX is a strong and slow acting agonist for smooth muscles, skeletal muscles, neuromuscular junctions and the CNS. It works by over exciting the neuron, increasing heart and over all muscle contractions.
Although this won’t kill an individual it will cause extreme pain and discomfort, which can last for over 2 hours.