Two new ant species discovered in Mizoram
A team of scientists from a Bengaluru-based research organisation named Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), has discovered two new species of a rare ant genus Myrmecina in Mizoram, pushing the number of Myrmecina species found in India to seven.
The discovery marks the first record of the Myrmecina genus from the state, the researchers say.
The team, comprising senior fellow Dr Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, Aswaj Punnath and Anoop Karunakaran, conducted the study while collecting samples from protected areas and reserve forests of Mizoram since April 2019, as part of research on bio-resource and sustainable livelihoods in northeast India.
These ants live under stones, decaying wood and leaf litters, in small colonies of about 30-150 individuals. However, only 51 species are known to exist so far which are distributed over North America, Europe, northern Africa, India, Korea, Japan and Australia.
One of the two new species, Myrmecina bawai, has been named after professor Kamaljit S Bawa. It has a yellow-coloured body with a dark tinge and was found in a shaded region at an elevation of 1,619 metres above sea level.
The other species, Myrmecina reticulata, was found in Dampa tiger reserve in Mamit district at an elevation of 409 metres above sea level. The ants have reticulate patterns on its abdomen.
The founding president of ATREE, Bawa is a renowned evolutionary ecologist and conservation biologist and the first Indian Botanist to ever receive the Linnean Medal.
(Edited by Ridhika Joshi)
-With inputs from agencies
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