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27 Examples of Animals that Sting (A to Z List with Pictures)

animals that sting

Animals that sting include Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Scorpions, and Jellyfish.

There are many animals in the world that can sting. Some, like bees and wasps, use their stings to protect themselves or their nests. Others, like jellyfish and scorpions, use their stings as a way to kill prey or defend themselves against predators.

While most stings are not life-threatening, they can be very painful and can cause swelling or other allergic reactions.

Examples of Animals that Sting

1. Arizona Bark Scorpion

Arizona Bark Scorpion
Scientific NameCentruroides sculpturatus
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangesouthern California, southern Arizona and western New Mexico
DietCarnivore

The Arizona bark scorpion is a small arachnid that measures only about 2 inches long. Its sting can cause severe problems for children, the elderly, and those who have compromised immune systems.

In fact, about five percent of all people stung by a bark scorpion will die, even with immediate medical attention. This number jumps to twenty percent for children stung by the insect.

2. Box Jellyfish

Box Jellyfish
Scientific NameCubozoa
Type of AnimalScyphozoa
RangeAustralia
DietCarnivore

Box jellyfish are dangerous marine animals that populate the waters surrounding many tropical islands. The smallest known species of this creature measures about 1 inch across, while the largest can grow to a length of 5 feet.

Their tentacles contain cells called nematocysts. When they sting an animal or person, their venom is delivered via these microscopic capsules. If you are unlucky enough to be stung by a box jellyfish, expect your skin to feel extremely painful and irritated.

3. Bullet Ant

Ant colony on a leaf
Scientific NameParaponera clavata
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNicaragua to Paraguay
DietCarnivore

The bullet ant is named for the intense amount of pain its sting provokes. It gets its name from one of the native names given to it by natives in Brazil, where it is found. Bullet ants are about an inch long and live in colonies high up in trees or underground. A sting from a bullet ant can feel like being shot, hence the name.

4. Cone Snail

Scaly Foot Snail
Scientific NameConidae
Type of AnimalGastropod
Rangethe Indian and Pacific Oceans
DietCarnivore

The cone snail has about 500 species, all of which are venomous and can cause a very painful sting. In fact, sometimes simply brushing against one of these snails causes a person to get stung.

Sometimes people who do not even touch a cone snail get stung. If a person is unlucky enough to be stung by one, they might experience intense pain and swelling that can last for days or even weeks.

5. Electric Eel

Longfin Eel
Scientific NameElectrophorus electricus
Type of AnimalFish
RangeSouth America
DietCarnivore

The electric eel doesn’t use its stings like bees and wasps do, but it does make use of them to defend itself.

Electric eels can produce up to 600 volts of electricity, which they use to stun prey or as a warning sign that they are not happy. A shock from an electric eel is very painful and can even cause death.

6. Fire Ant

Fire Ant Mandibles
Scientific NameSolenopsis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeMato Grosso in Brazil
DietOmnivore

As their name indicates, fire ants have a very nasty sting. They use their stings to defend themselves and also to paralyze prey so they can be brought back to the colony for food. Fire ant bites are typically not life-threatening for healthy adults, but children and the elderly should seek immediate medical attention if bitten by one.

7. Fire Coral

Coral
Scientific NameMillepora
Type of AnimalCnidaria
RangePanama and Indonesia
DietCarnivore

Fire corals are not actually a true corals, but a relative of jellyfish. They live in warm saltwater and produce a toxin called a nematocyst. This toxin is so strong that touching fire coral can cause temporary paralysis, which makes it challenging to get away if the animal attaches itself to you.

Fire coral can even kill humans, especially children and people with weak immune systems.

8. Fire worm

worm
Scientific NameHermodice carunculata
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeSouth America
DietCarnivore

The fireworm is found in the waters off the coast of South America. These worms burrow into the sand and produce a mucus-like material that they will use to sting their prey.

When divers disturb them, the fireworm quickly shoots out its stinger into whatever has upset it. The burning pain lasts for a long time after a person has been stung, and the wound itself itches for even longer.

9. Honeybee

Honeybee
Scientific NameApis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Honeybees are not usually considered dangerous. Their stings, after all, are meant to defend their hive and themselves from predators and not meant as a way to kill prey.

However, an angry swarm of bees is difficult for any person or animal to contend with. It’s estimated that between five and ten people die each year because of an allergic reaction to a honeybee’s stings.

Related Article: Do Honeybees Symbolize Family?

10. Hornet

Asian Giant Hornet
Scientific NameVespa
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangetropics of Asia
DietOmnivore

Hornets can be very aggressive when their nests are threatened. They attack in numbers and sting repeatedly. Hornets use venom to kill the insects that they eat, but it is not poisonous to humans.

The stings themselves can cause pain and swelling. If you are allergic, a single hornet may be able to kill you with multiple stings.

11. Lionfish

Lionfish
Scientific NamePterois
Type of AnimalFish
Rangewestern Australia and Malaysia
DietCarnivore

The lionfish is a member of the scorpionfish family, and it uses stings on its fins to defend itself against predators. In fact, this creature has developed such a strong venom that it can be deadly to humans if not treated quickly after being stung.

The lionfish is native to tropic waters in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but it has recently started to appear in the Atlantic Ocean. As its population grows, more and more people are at risk of being stung by this fish.

12. Nudibranch

Nudibranch
Scientific NameNudibranchia
Type of AnimalMarine gastropod
Rangeseas worldwide
DietCarnivore

Nudibranchs are colorful mollusks that feed on jellyfish. To protect themselves against the stings of their prey, they have evolved special cells called nematocysts which contain venom. These sting cells not only give them protection but also act as a way to catch dinner.

13. Paper Wasp

wasp
Scientific NamePolistes dominula
Type of AnimalInsect
Range the Mediterranean
DietOmnivore

Paper wasps aren’t aggressive insects and rarely sting humans. They use their stings to defend their colony, so it is best not to disturb an active paper wasp nest. While a single paper wasp can only sting once or twice, multiple stings can cause serious problems for those who are allergic.

Paper wasps will also sometimes sting to kill their prey, so those who have been stung should remove the insect from the area as quickly as possible.

14. Platypus

Platypus
Scientific NameOrnithorhynchus anatinus
Type of AnimalMammal
RangeAustralia
DietCarnivore

The platypus is a dangerous animal in its own right, but it also has the ability to sting. In males, there are two spurs on each hind foot that produce venom capable of killing small animals or causing severe pain in humans. Although the sting is not deadly to people, it can produce intense pain and swelling for about thirty minutes.

15. Portuguese Man O’ War

portuguese man o war
Scientific NamePhysalia physalis
Type of AnimalSiphonophore
RangeEastern Atlantic coast
DietCarnivore

The Portuguese man o’ war is a type of jellyfish that floats freely through the water. It has long, poisonous tentacles that it uses to catch prey and defend itself against predators.

A sting from one of these tentacles can cause intense pain and discomfort for humans, but the venom in the man o’ war’s poison doesn’t harm us at all. The animal is only dangerous to people in rare cases if the currents carry large amounts of man o’ wars near beaches or into marinas.

16. Puffer Fish

Pufferfish
Scientific NameTetraodontidae
Type of AnimalFish
Rangethe Maldives
DietCarnivore

Pufferfish, also known as blowfish or fugu, contain a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin in their liver and parts like the ovaries and skin. This toxin does not affect the pufferfish as it is found all over its body.

However, when the fish is eaten by humans, this toxin becomes dangerous. Even a very small amount of this toxin can cause a loss of muscle control, paralysis, respiratory failure, and even death.

17. Red Harvester Ant

Soldier Ant
Scientific NamePogonomyrmex barbatus
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeUnited States
DietOmnivore

Red harvester ants are more of a danger to humans than they may seem. These insects produce a painful sting that leaves a burning sensation for several hours. For people with allergies, the stings can be deadly.

People who have been stung by one of these ants should seek immediate medical attention in order to avoid complications.

18. Scorpionfish

Scorpionfish
Scientific NameScorpaenidae
Type of AnimalFish
RangeIndian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and Indonesia
DietOmnivore

There are a number of different types of scorpionfish, and while their stings can be painful, they generally do not cause problems for humans. There have been accounts of people dying from the poison produced by some species of scorpionfish, but these cases are very rare.

In most instances where a human has died from a scorpionfish sting, they have been stung multiple times.

19. Sea Anemone

Sea Anemone
Scientific NameActiniaria
Type of AnimalCnidarians
RangeWorldwide
DietCarnivore

Sea anemones are not typically dangerous to humans, but they have the power to sting. In fact, most sea anemones have a number of stinging structures known as cnidocytes that produce venom that can cause pain and itchiness for about an hour.

Although a person can usually avoid being stung by a sea anemone, he or she should still avoid touching them.

20. Sea Urchin

Red Sea Urchin
Scientific NameEchinoidea
Type of AnimalEchinoidea
RangeWorldwide
DietOmnivore

Sea urchins are spiny little creatures that live in warm waters all over the world. They are covered by sharp, spike-like projections known as spines so they can defend themselves against predators.

Sharp teeth also cover their shells to aid in this defense mechanism. Sea urchins have a very powerful sting that produces intense pain and even paralysis in extreme cases.

21. Stingray

Stingray
Scientific NameMyliobatoidei
Type of AnimalFish
Rangethe Pacific and western Atlantic
DietCarnivore

The stingray is a type of fish with a flat body, large eyes, and a mouth full of sharp teeth. In some parts of the world, especially in warm saltwater seas, it is considered a delicacy.

However, most people do not know that stingrays can produce extremely painful stings. Stingrays use venom glands on their tails to defend themselves if they are stepped on or threatened.

22. Stonefish

Stonefish
Scientific NameSynanceia
Type of AnimalFish
Rangesouthern Japan and surrounding Taiwan
DietCarnivore

The stonefish is a type of fish that spends most of its time hiding on the ocean floor. It has thirteen dorsal spines covered in extremely toxic venom and measures about 12 inches long.

The stonefish’s sting can cause such severe pain that it may even stop the heart, but the venom is not deadly to humans if medical help is received in time.

23. Sweat Bee

bee
Scientific NameHalictidae
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeCanada and Africa
DietOmnivore

The sweat bee is a very tiny insect, measuring only about 1/8 of an inch. While it can sting and cause pain to humans, the sting of a sweat bee is not dangerous and does not require the use of medical attention.

However, because of its small size and large numbers (there are typically about 100 bees per colony), it can be hard to avoid getting stung by a sweat bee.

24. Tarantula Hawk Wasp

hawk
Scientific NamePepsini
Type of AnimalInsect
Rangeevery continent except Europe and Antarctica
DietCarnivore

Tarantula hawks are members of the wasp family. They can grow to be more than two inches long, and they use their stingers to paralyze tarantulas so they can lay eggs in the spiders’ bodies.

While most insects try to avoid humans, these wasps will fly towards people when they feel threatened. The sting it produces can be very painful, but it is not usually life-threatening.

25. Warrior Wasp

wasp
Scientific NameSynoeca septentrionalis
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeSouth America
DietOmnivore

The warrior wasp is a tiny insect that packs a powerful sting. It uses its venom to paralyze large prey, like crickets and spiders, so it can feed on them later. Human victims of this wasp’s sting can feel pain or numbness for several hours.

26. Weever Fish

fish
Scientific NameTrachinidae
Type of AnimalFish
RangeAtlantic Ocean, North Sea, and European coastal areas
DietCarnivore

The weever fish is a very small type of ray that lives in the Mediterranean Sea. The fish’s venom can cause severe pain, but it does not pose much of a risk to humans unless it is stepped on or handled.

However, when disturbed or threatened, the weever can produce enough venom to kill another small animal in about two hours.

27. Yellow Jacket

yellow wasp
Scientific NameVespula vulgaris
Type of AnimalInsect
RangeNorth America
DietCarnivore

The yellow jacket is another dangerous insect that uses its stings to protect itself. A yellow jacket will sting an intruder until it loses its stinger, which is not painful but leaves the insect unable to make more stings.

Stings from a yellow jacket can cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to bee stings. Children are especially vulnerable to this insect’s venom.

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