Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Schmidt Sting Pain Index and the Bullet ant

The Schmidt Sting Pain Index or The Justin O. Schmidt Pain Index is a pain scale of Hymenopteran stings. It is mainly the work of Justin O. Schmidt, an entomologist for whom the index is named. Schmidt has published a number of papers on the subject and claims to have been stung by the majority of stinging Hymenoptera.

Subsequently, Schmidt has refined his scale, culminating in a paper published in 1990 which classifies the stings of 78 species and 41 genera of Hymenoptera. Notably, Schmidt described some of the experiences in vivid and colorful detail:
The sting of the Bullet ant is described as causing "waves of burning, throbbing, all-consuming pain that continues unabated for up to 24 hours.

The ants are also used for initiation rites by some indigenous people in the Amazon.

That zinger at the end of the video is great.


pimp-a-lot bear said...

oi, that's gotta hurt!

pimp-a-lot bear said...

question: How do you measure the amount of pain?
Apart from problems like getting used to the pain or the opposite, getting a little more sensitive to pain, it's pretty hard to measure pain.
You can't say something hurts twice as much as the previous ant, maybe it's 1.5 or 2.5 times.
All you can say about it is whether it hurts more or less than the previous ant. It's just an ordinal measurement.

So this brings me to the following question:
Do the numbers on the scale make any sense?
I think not.

cybrbeast said...

No not much sense, it's a qualitative scale based on the experiences of an entomologist. But it probably gives a pretty good indication.

annom said...

I can only hope for those indians that it is a logarithmic scale :)

Nice post!