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According to Gudger, E. W., 1925 (Stitching wound with the mandibles of ants and beetles. J. Amer. Med. Assoc. 84:1861-1864), there are numerous references in early medical literature to the use of living black ants for closing incisions and small perforations in the intestines, as well as stitching extensive wounds. These references date back to Hindu writings as early as 1,000 B.C. and probably earlier. It was pointed out that ants belonging to the genus Atta and Camponotus (carpenter ants) and near relatives possess powerfull jaws, which are able to grasp objects with extraordinary firmness. To effect a suture, an individual ant is so placed that its jaws, which are widely open, close upon the edges of the skin and draw them firmly together. The head is then cut off, and the jaws remain firmly attached until the wound is healed. Gudger also refers to the similar use of beetles belonging to the family Carabidae. The genus Scarites is said to have been used for stitching wounds in Algeria, Turkey and in Europe.



Copyright 2007 Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel
Last modified: 01/01/07