The Satere-Mawe is an indigenous Indian tribe located in the Amazon. I first heard of this tribe while watching 'The Venom Hunter' on the Discovery Channel. Within the Satere-Mawe tribe suffering stings from multiple bullet ants is a rite of passage to initiate young males into manhood (Lentz & Nash, n.d.).
The bullet ant has a long syringe that retracts from its abdomen. The syringe injects the bullet ant’s victims with poneratoxin. The poneratoxin rates number one the Schmidt Sting Pain Index (Lentz & Nash, n.d.). In other words, the sting of the bullet ant is more painful than any othersting given by any other creature in the world.
To collect the bullet ants members of the Satere-Mawe tribe will sedate the bullet ants and weave them into a pair of gloves. When the ants begin to awaken, the gloves are then placed on the hands of the young man being initiated into manhood. The young men mustwear the gloves for 10 minutes while hundreds of bullet ants sting their hands. Not only must they complete the 10 minutes, but they must do so without screaming out in pain. This ritual is repeated up to 20 times throughout the initiation into manhood taking anywhere from several months to several years to complete (Scienceray, n.d.).
Lentz, J., & Nash, S. (n.d.) Animal review: A review of animals. Retrieved December 4th, 2011 from Animal Review: http://animalreview.wordpress.com/2009/01/18/bullet-ant/
Scienceray. (n.d.) Bullet Ant Ritual: Deadly, Yet Still Practiced. Retrieved December 4th, 2011 from Scienceray: http://scienceray.com/biology/microbiology/bullet-ant-ritual-deadly-yet-still-practiced/
Also, if anyone is interested here’s the YouTube video of ‘The Venom Hunter’ going through the bullet ant ritual: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VarqiOM4-Fg