Name: Bullet Ant (Paraponera clavata)
Scientific Classification and Taxonomy:
Distribution: Paraponera is distributed throughout Central and South America, commonly found in the wet neotropic ecozone. These ants are found in Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica from the north, and in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil from the south. Colonies are found in lowland areas, at elevations ranging from sea level to 750 m (2,460 ft). However, specimens have been collected at elevations of 1,500 m (4,920 ft) in Parque La Amistad.
Habitat: Colonies consist of several hundred individuals and are usually situated at the bases of trees. Workers forage arboreally in the area directly above the nest for small arthropods and nectar, often as far as the upper canopy; little foraging occurs on the forest floor. Nectar, carried between the mandibles, is the most common food taken back to the nest by foragers. Two studies in Costa Rica and on Barro Colorado Island (BCI) found about four bullet ant nests per hectare of forest. On BCI, the nests were found under 70 species of trees, six species of shrubs, two species of lianas, and one species of palm. Nests were most common beneath the canopies of Faramea occidentalis and Trichilia tuberculata, but these trees are also the most abundant in the forest. Nests were present more frequently than would be expected based on the abundance of the trees under Alseis blackiana, Tabernaemontana arborea, Virola sebifera, Guarea guidonia, and Oenocarpus mapora. The large number of nest plants suggests little active selection of nest sites by bullet ants. Small shrubs, however, are underused, probably because they do not provide access to the forest canopy. The study on BCI concluded trees with buttresses and extrafloral nectaries may be selected for by bullet ants.
Dymadex's blogs on bugs, including insects and arachnids. Insects are hexapod invertebrates like ants, beetles, bees, and flies. Arachnids are joint-legged invertebrates like spiders, scorpions, ticks, and harvestmen. Other organisms in this blog include centipede, millipede, and worms.
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