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10 creatures that deliver the most painful stings and bites

By: Bryan Nelson on July 25, 2011, 10:40 a.m.
A bullet ant crawls on a leaf in La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica.

Photo: Hans Hillewaert/Wikimedia Commons

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Bullet ant

As evidenced by the Schmidt Sting Pain Index, the bullet ant has the reputation of delivering the most painful sting in the insect world. Some even believe that a bullet ant sting might be the most painful sting, period. Amazingly, there's an indigenous tribe in South America that requires young men to endure these stings for 10 minutes at a time — as many as 20 times consecutively — as a rite of passage ritual. Despite the pain, the stings are not fatal and cause no permanent damage, except maybe to the psyche.