This species, Paraponera clavata, is the infamous bullet ant. In Costa Rica, its common name is “bala,” which also means bullet. If somehow you don’t already know, the name derives from its powerful sting. Getting stung is said to be as painful as getting shot. I’ve also heard it referred to as “hormiga veinticuatro”, or 24 hour ant, for the duration of the pain. I’m happy to say I can’t testify to any of this personally.
I saw plenty of these large ants. It was difficult to get any images though, as they seem to be constantly on the move. These images were taken at night as the ant crawled around on a tree trunk.
Ants of Costa Rica: Paraponera clavata
by Charles L. Hogue