Bullet Bodyguards

These ants are often referred to as ‘Bullet’ ants. They pack a powerful sting, the sensation of which has often been likened with that of being shot. The pain from the venom is the most excruciating of all known insect bites according to experts, taking a full 24 hours to recede. Clearly the plant has chosen its bodyguards well.

They are used by some indigenous people in their initiation rites to manhood. The ants are first knocked out by drowning them in a natural chloroform and then hundreds of them are woven into sleeves made out of leaves, stinger facing inward. When the ants come to, boys slip the sleeve down onto their arm. The goal of this initiation rite is to keep the sleeve on for a full ten minutes without showing any signs of pain. When finished, the boys’ (now men) arms are temporarily paralyzed because of the venom, and they may shake uncontrollably for days.

They were shot using a modified borescope with a wide angle taking lens to achieve the magnification and DOF. This type of shot, a wide angle close up that offers macro images as well as a sence of place is a favorite.

Producer Writer Director Cameraman: Phil Savoie
AC: Ted Giffords, Nick Turner
Field Assistants: Jimmy Trejos Camacho, Canudo “Noodles” Mudoz Briones
Editor: Martin Elsbury
Narrator: Robert Lindsay
Super 16: Kodak 7246 7279
Location: Costa Rica

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All contents of this web site © Philip A. Savoie

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