Formicidae, Hymenoptera, Insecta, Arthropoda, Animalia
Throughout the wet Neotropics. Costa Rica: Atlantic slope wet forest, low elevations; extending to just west of Santa Cecilia in northern Guanacaste Province (Janzen, pers. comm.); absent from wet forest of southern Pacific slopes and Osa.
Large size, conspicuous antennal scrobes, and the uniquely shaped petiole make this monotypic genus immediately recognizable.
This is the famous "bala" ant, reknowned for its large size and powerful sting; workers forage arboreally at all heights in the canopy; nests are subterranean at the bases of trees, or occasionally in humus accumulations in the canopy; workers forage on live prey and extrafloral nectar; males are frequent at blacklights. There is a growing literature of behavioral and ecological studies of Paraponera.
THIS PAGE WILL SOON BE SUPERCEDED BY A PAGE CO-AUTHORED WITH MICHAEL BREED, SUMMARIZING THE BIOLOGY OF THIS SPECIES.
[note added 4 September 2004: well, not so soon.]
Formica clavata Fabricius 1775:394. Syntype worker: India (locality in error).
Fabricius, J. C. 1775. Systema entomologiae, sistens insectorum classes, ordines, genera, species adiectis synonymis, locis, descriptionibus, observationibus. Flensburgi et Lipsiae [= Flensburg and Leipzig]: Korte, 832 pp.
John T. Longino, The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA 98505 USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
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