National Geographic : 1959 Aug
) NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY Unsheathing Her Sting, an Angry Bee Launches a Suicide Attack Sinking her poisoned stiletto into human flesh costs the honeybee her life. Gripping with tiny claws, she lowers her abdomen, thrusts in her slender tail lance, and then pulls away. The sting, studded with microscopic barbs, stays fast in the victim and the tug disembowels the bee. This remarkable photograph shows a worker, her sting embedded in the author's hand, in the act of ripping free. The sting exacts fiery ven geance for her death. A living hypodermic, the barbed sting carries its own powerful injection mechanism. Twenty minutes after penetration, muscles torn from the bee's body still pulse. They drive the sting deeper and deeper and inject poison as potent, drop for drop, as rattlesnake venom. Clear poison sac and brownish muscles show plainly in this view, magnified 25 times.