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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.
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.
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.
|Paraponera clavata||Wild, A. L., 2007, A catalogue of the ants of Paraguay (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)., Zootaxa 1622, pp. 1-55: 38, (download)||38||21367|
|Paraponera clavata||Forel, A., 1909, Fourmis du Musée de Bruxelles. Fourmis de Benguela récoltées par M. Creighton Wellman, et fourmis du Congo récoltées par MM. Luja, Kohl et Laurent., Annales de la Societe Entomologique de Belgique 53, pp. 51-73: 58, (download)||58||4018|
|Paraponera clavata||Smith, F., 1858, Catalogue of the hymenopterous insects in the collection of the British Museum. Part VI. Formicidae., London: British Museum: 100-101, (download)||100-101||8127|
Found most commonly in these habitats: 28 times found in montane wet forest, 16 times found in lowland rainforest, 7 times found in La Selva, 3 times found in CCL 300, 4 times found in CEN 650, 5 times found in CCL 840M, 7 times found in rainforest, 5 times found in tropical wet forest, 5 times found in wet forest, 2 times found in mature wet forest, ...
Found most commonly in these microhabitats: 8 times Sura, 3 times foragers, 5 times at bait, 4 times Copa de arbol, 2 times blacklight sample, 4 times Malaise trap, 3 times Sobre Vegetacion, 3 times SCH, 2 times on low vegetation, 1 times Kofan Indian village, 2 times ground nest at base of tree, ...
Collected most commonly using these methods: 56 times Malaise, 48 times Fogging, 27 times Blacklight, 15 times search, 10 times at light, 5 times baiting, 3 times hand collecting, 1 times beating, 3 times Sweeping, 3 times flight intercept trap, 2 times Pitfall, ...
Elevations: collected from 5 - 1070 meters, 187 meters average
Type specimens: Holotype of Paraponera clavata: casent0913717