F. Smith, 1858
is a genus
of ponerine ants
(in)famous for its sole species, the so-called "bullet ant", P. Clavata
, named on account of its most powerful and potent sting, the sensation of which has often been likened with that of being shot with a bullet
by those who have had the misfortune to be at its receiving end. The Ponerinae is a primitive subfamily
and their stings are morphologically similar to those of some solitary wasps - the ancestors of ants - and hence are often most severe, being intended as multi-purpose defensive tools rather than the more specialised weapons of more advanced ants.
Paraponera is predaceous and, like all primitive ponerines, does not display a great deal of polymorphism. Colonies consist of several thousand individuals, and are usually situated at the bases of trees, workers forgaing arboreally in the area directly above the nest for insect prey and nectaries, often as far as the upper canopy.
The genus is found along the Atlantic coast of South and Central America, including Costa Rica, and coincides with the range of the closely related Dinoponera.
- Paraponera clavata (Fabricius, 1775) - the "bullet ant".
Also see List_of_ant_genera_(alphabetical), Ponerine ants and List of more primitive ant species.