School of Ants Australia

Dr Kirsti Abbott is an ant ecologist and science communicator who runs School of Ants in Australia, a citizen-science project that aims to document and understand the diversity and distribution of ants in urban landscapes. She has a passion for inspiring younger generations to connect with their inner ant lover.

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Most painful insect sting

In 1983, American entomologist Justin O Schmidt from the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Arizona, USA, published a detailed pain index of insect stings, based on a four-point scale, having tested a very large number of different species of stinging insect upon himself. The most painful sting, registering 4.0+ on his index, was that of the bullet ant (Paraponera clavata), native to Nicaragua and southwards through Central America to Paraguay in northern South America. Schmidt described its sting as: "like walking over flaming charcoal with a three-inch rusty nail in your heel". Others have said that the pain is like being shot – hence its name, "bullet ant".