THIERRY BERROD, MONA LISA PRODUCTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY THIERRY BERROD, MONA LISA PRODUCTION / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Ant sting. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of the stinging organ on the rear segment of an unidentified ant. The sting is tipped with blood. The last body segment of the ant, the gaster, is covered in hairs (setae). The sting at the tip is retractable. When an ant attacks another animal the sting injects a poison, which usually contains formic acid. The ant's sting is not barbed and therefore can be retracted and used again, unlike that of its relative the bee. Ants use their stings in conjunction with bites from the mandibles, to defend their colony from predators and to paralyse their prey. Magnification unknown.
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