New footage recorded at 1,000 frames per second is giving insight into how an ant stinger works. In what is said to be the first recording of its kind, we can see the stinger, which is thinner than a human hair, releasing venom.
An ant’s stinger is made up of a main stinger and two “lancets” that actively drill into you during the venom-releasing process. In the video, it’s explained that a harvester ant’s stinger is 40 microns wide; that’s smaller than the width of a human hair.
Recorded by Dr. Adrian Smith in the Evolutionary Biology amd Behavior Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, the super slow motion footage was taken at 1,000 fps. The ants stung a thin wax film, with the intricate details of the entire process caught on camera.
The main stinger inserts into the film, before the lancets can be seen extending outward one at a time, drilling deeper into the skin while releasing a drop of venom with each extension.
This is the greatest detail in which the procedure has been caught. To the naked eye, it happens in the blink of an eye, but when recorded at 1,000 fps, we can visibly see what happens with great clarity.