New ant species from Borneo explodes to defend its colony

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  • April 19, 2018
  • Amongst the countless fascinating plants and animals inhabiting the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, there are the spectacular “exploding ants”, a group of arboreal, canopy dwelling ants nicknamed for their unique defensive behaviour. When threatened by other insects, minor workers can actively rupture their body wall. Apart from leading to the ants’ imminent death, the […]

    Heat-loving Australian ants believe in diversity, hint 74 species new to science

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  • September 21, 2017
  • The ‘furnace ants’ or ‘honeypot ants’ present a very large genus of ants, Melophorus, confined to Australia. Long believed to be megadiverse, some scientists have even suggested that the group may contain ‘well over 1000 species’. However, to this point, only 32 species and subspecies had been described. Scientists Dr Brian Heterick of Curtin University, Dr Mark Castalanelli of Ecodiagnostics Pty […]

    The Radiohead ant: A new species of ‘silky’ ant grows fungus gardens for food

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  • April 24, 2017
  • The ants of the genus Sericomyrmex – literally translated as ‘silky ants’ – belong to the fungus-farming ants, a group of ants that have figured out how to farm their own food. The silky ants are the less well-known relatives of the famous leaf-cutter ants – well-studied, photogenic model organisms that you simply cannot avoid […]

    Rarely-seen event of ant brood parasitism by scuttle flies video-documented

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  • January 31, 2017
  • While many species of scuttle flies are associated with ants, their specific interactions with their hosts are largely unknown. Brood parasitism (attacking the immature stages, rather than the adult ants), for example, is an extremely rarely observed and little-studied phenomenon. However, a research team from the USA and Brazil, led by Dr. Brian Brown, Natural […]

    Flightless survivors: Incredible invertebrate diversity in Los Angeles metropolitan area

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  • May 3, 2016
  • Urban wildlife is surprisingly understudied. We tend to know more about animals in exotic places than about those that live in our cities. This is why researchers Emile Fiesler, president of Bioveyda Biological Inventories, Surveys, and Biodiversity Assessments, USA, and Tracy Drake, manager of the Madrona Marsh Preserve, looked into the fauna of the Madrona […]

    Saucer-like shields protect 2 new ‘door head’ ant species from Africa and their nests

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  • October 6, 2015
  • Shaped like saucers, or concave shields, and covered with camouflaging layers of debris, the heads of two “door head” ant species are found to differentiate them as new taxa. They use their peculiar features to block the entrances of their nests against intruders like other predatory ants and invertebrates. Being only the second case of […]