Watch - Milking Bullet Ant Venom, the Worst Pain Known to Man

Watch - Milking Bullet Ant Venom, the Worst Pain Known to Man

Bullet ants contain a venom not so much deadly as it is excruciatingly painful, and for the first time ever, scientists have been attempting to extract it.

An ant living in the Amazon rainforest can sting a person so badly "it feels like you were shot by a gun." The cause of the pain is in the venom the ant injects you with. (Mad) scientists are now trying to milk this venom in order to study it in detail, and perhaps put it to use in medicines.

Its name is the Bullet Ant, and you can guess why. It is one of the largest species of ant yet discovered, and thankfully lives far from any major population centres. There is one Amazonian tribe, however, that uses the ant as part of its adolescence rites.

More weird biology news: sailing spiders!

The ritual of the Sateré-Mawé people is strictly for young men. The boys, as young as 12, are sent out into the rainforest to collect bullet ants, which they put into a glove made of sticks or leaves. Each boy performing the rite must wear the gloves for ten minutes, while dancing - twenty different times.

The tribe's chief says the ritual is meant to show young men how a life lived "without suffering anything or without any kind of effort" is not a worthwhile life.

Watch Hamish, of Hamish & Andy, try wearing the gloves. He looks like he's having a really great time.

The ant's venom is thirty times more painful than a typical bee sting, according to Justin O. Schmidt's sting pain index. He places it almost by itself in "category 4," the highest level. Schmidt has been stung by over 150 different insect species in his time as an entomologist, so we're going to trust him on this one.

There are many possible uses of the venom once it has been successfully extracted. First of all, like most venoms, it could be used to create an anti-venom - something I will definitely want to carry with me if I am ever hiking through the rainforest. Since it works by causing nerves to malfunction, and affecting how long they keep sending false signals, scientists also believe it could be part of a painkiller, which is crazy. It might even be an all-natural insecticide.

Watch the process of extraction in the video below:

Wearing gloves that cause the worst pain you'll ever feel does seem marginally better than awkward first dances and high school hazing, I suppose. It's good to put things in perspective! Thanks, nature.

In case you need a palate cleanser.

Source: Business Insider, Smithsonian, BBC, BoingBoing

Permalink

I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

What they don't mention is that during this rite, the reverend mother of the Sateré-Mawé holds the Gom Jabbar to their neck...

...

Wow, tough crowd.

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

That might work out - but I think a lot of fatalities that result from stun guns are usually the result of abusive use, and bad reactions from the victim (allergies, heart attacks, panic attacks). I don't think this would do any better in the cases of over-application or weak hearts. Not to mention, someone affected by this goes kinda crazy, whereas a stun gun (best case scenario) can paralyze someone temporarily. Still, it's just the beginning and maybe an altered version of this will become a safe way to neutralize someone.

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

No... it'd still pretty much be lethal to the alergic. By the time they'd realize someone's having an allergic reaction it'd probably be too late. Besides .. there are people with superhuman pain tolerance levels. Heck the tribs that live in the rain forest use them as part of their manhood ritual You basically wear gloves filled with ornery stinging biullet ants for like an hour. They do this upwards of 7 times.

MonsterCrit:

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

No... it'd still pretty much be lethal to the alergic. By the time they'd realize someone's having an allergic reaction it'd probably be too late. Besides .. there are people with superhuman pain tolerance levels. Heck the tribs that live in the rain forest use them as part of their manhood ritual You basically wear gloves filled with ornery stinging biullet ants for like an hour. They do this upwards of 7 times.

I have to agree regarding the pain tolerance levels that these tribefolk must have, though that's probably because the ancestors who didn't have the tolerance probably wouldn't have hung around for the second dance and, well, didn't get to become 'ancestors'.
Or died.

I did chuckle at the reaction of Andy.
"would you like a panadol?".
Exactly what I'd expect my friends to do.
Take the piss while I was writhing in non injury causing pain.

Damn good video.

Sounds like it could be a real shot in the arm for the anesthetic department.

And that's why it was so silly when the Peter Russo actor in Ant-Man just shrugged off a bullet ant bite in the movie.

unless my memory is faulty, this ritual sounds like something ripped straight out of dune. didn't they have a box that was used in a similar fashion to produce a similar result?

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

Do you mean jabbing them with a syringe when the police are already on top of him, or shooting a tiny dart of the stuff from long-range? Because can you imagine if said dart hit the target in the eye?

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

you do realise that people have commited suicide after betting biten by bullet ant just to stop pain. i would say using the poison in darts quite inhuman and should be counted as torture.

Akytalusia:
unless my memory is faulty, this ritual sounds like something ripped straight out of dune.

Pain Box is what you are thinking of, if the hand leaves before the test is done you get killed or from Flash where is his tested in the tree with the giant insect, but as I remember it that was lethal and had to be cut off or some such.

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

That's not how allergies work. There is no "anti-venom", if you get an anaphylactic shock, there are only two solutions: stuff a bunch of calcium down your throat or get an intravenous adrenaline shot, both of which are used to counteract the histamine release that causes the swelling and shock-reaction and neither of which can be safely administered in a situation where someone has to be taken down. Not to mention if the person in question is riled or exhausted (which often happens during riots or brawls) then the sudden blockage of the windpipe can send them into unconsciousness and kill them in minutes.

In short, anything that can cause allergic reactions like that is not exactly on top of my "nonlethal" list.

Now this would be interesting for some realistic FPS in the future. Can you imagine playing Battlefield with Oculus, Omni threadmill and a suit that detects hitboxes and administers this stuff? Now that would be a shooter in which "realistic" doesn't need to be in quotes!

I wonder who would really in a contest of "worst pain known to humanity": Bullet ant, or Gympie Gympie plant. Afterall, a cop once blew his brains out just to escape the pain of the Gympie Gympie plant.

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

Weren't there already things like this? I remember hearing about some gun that shot some kind of ray that made the target feel like they were burning on the spot the gun hit them. And they were seen as pretty much inhuman torture devices?

Yep, there were https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_Denial_System#Controversy.

I can't help but think using this venom as a non-lethal takedown method would only make people more afraid and suspicious of cops. Imagine hearing stories of cops not only randomly arresting minorities, but also using this venom as a "restraining method" instead of things like strangleholds (which are shitty as well, but at least controllable, unlike this). I also wonder if the venom works on, say, people on PCP or other drugs, or does it only make them angrier?

Mikeybb:

MonsterCrit:

VanQ:
I think another good option for the venom is in non-lethal takedowns for law enforcement. Stun guns and bean bag guns can kill quite easily if mishandled. At least with a small shot of this venom you can take them down and the only major risk would be a potential allergic reaction which, if they do develop an antivenom, shouldn't be too risky.

No... it'd still pretty much be lethal to the alergic. By the time they'd realize someone's having an allergic reaction it'd probably be too late. Besides .. there are people with superhuman pain tolerance levels. Heck the tribs that live in the rain forest use them as part of their manhood ritual You basically wear gloves filled with ornery stinging biullet ants for like an hour. They do this upwards of 7 times.

I have to agree regarding the pain tolerance levels that these tribefolk must have, though that's probably because the ancestors who didn't have the tolerance probably wouldn't have hung around for the second dance and, well, didn't get to become 'ancestors'.
Or died.

I did chuckle at the reaction of Andy.
"would you like a panadol?".
Exactly what I'd expect my friends to do.
Take the piss while I was writhing in non injury causing pain.

Damn good video.

The manhood rituials of tribal folk tend to be pretty insane. There's the maori and their tatoos you know those full facial and body tatoos. those suckas are done with charcol and fishbone. YOu are not allowed to wince or flinch during it.

There's the MAsai from africa (i think) their manhood ritual involves bringing back trhe tail of a lion. Solo fight with spear and shield versus a lion... Well it used to be solo. Now it's done in groups. Not for the sake of the safety of the participants... they just don't have enough lions to go around anymore so they have to share.

That's right... we made a reproductive ritual of picking a fight with the biggest meat eater on the continent and it's the big cats that lost the attrition war. We are not the einsteins of the animal kingdom We are the Joker's. We leveled up IQ and Insanity when we allocated our Evolutionary points.

The reason is simple. Historically a tribe needs warriors , warriors need to be the sort of people with high pain tolerance, not to mention no fear of pain. Trust me after wearing a glov filled with bullet ants for an hour 7 times. You'd probably consider an arrow or spear to be 'Soothing'

Cowabungaa:
And that's why it was so silly when the Peter Russo actor in Ant-Man just shrugged off a bullet ant bite in the movie.

Actually that's consistent with the assertion of the character having progressive neurological issues as exposed to the high-tech stuff, since pain is the brain interpreting nerve signals.

Watched L.A. Beast do this recently, looked terrifyingly painful. Apparently it gets worse and worse, feeling like whereever you are bit is on fire. I feel like a swarm could be deadly.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here