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Schmidt Sting Pain Index

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The Schmidt Sting Pain Index or The Justin O. Schmidt Pain Index is a scale rating the relative pain caused by different 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.

His original paper in 1984 was an attempt to systematise and compare the hemolytic properties of insect venoms. The index contained in the paper started from 0 for stings that are completely ineffective against humans, progressed through 2, a familiar pain such as a common bee or wasp sting, and finished at 4 for the most painful stings. In the conclusion, some descriptions of the most painful examples was given, eg: "Paraponera clavata stings induced immediate, excruciating pain and numbness to pencil-point pressure, as well as trembling in the form of a totally uncontrollable urge to shake the affected part."

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:


References Edit

  • Schmidt, J. O., Blum, M. S., and Overal, W. L. "Hemolytic activities of stinging insect venoms", Archives of Insect Biochemistry and Physiology, 1:155–160, 1984.
  • Schmidt, Justin O. "Hymenoptera venoms: striving toward the ultimate defense against vertebrates" in D. L. Evans and J. O. Schmidt (Eds.), "Insect defenses: adaptive mechanisms and strategies of prey and predators" pp. 387–419, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1990.
  • Berenbaum, May. "A Stinging Commentary", American Entomologist, v. 49 n. 2, pp. 68-69
  • Conniff, Richard. "The King of Sting", in Outside, v. 21 n. 4 (April 1996), pp. 82-84, 147.
  • Conniff, Richard. "Stung: How tiny little insects get us to do exactly as they wish", Discover, June 2003.
  • Evans, David L. Insect Defenses: Adaptive Mechanisms and Strategies of Prey and Predators, Table 14.1, 1990. ISBN 0-88706-896-0

See also Edit

fr:Justin O. Schmidt
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