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New ant species discovered from Kerala

  • Posted By
    10Pointer
  • Categories
    Science & Technology
  • Published
    27th Jan, 2021

Context

Two new species of a rare ant genus have been discovered in India.

The discovered species

  • The species of the ant genus Ooceraeafound in Kerala, and Tamil Nadu add to the diversity of this rare genus.
  • They differ from others of the same genus on the basis of the number of antennal segments.
  • One of them found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala, has been named Ooceraea joshii, in honour of  Amitabh Joshi, a distinguished evolutionary biologist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR).
  • The two new species, the first ones spotted with ten-segmented antennae among this rare genus, were discovered by a team led by Prof. Himender Bharti of Punjabi University, Patiala.
  • The discovery has been published in the journal ZooKeys.

Rare genus

  • The genus is currently represented by 14 species of which
    • eight possess nine-segmented antennae
    • while five possess eleven- segmented antennae
    • one species has recently been reported with eight-segmented antennae
  • In India, the genus was so far represented by two species with nine- and eleven-segmented antennae respectively.

Significance of the discovery

  • The newly discovered ant species with ten segmented antennae discovered, establish an old world lineage that contains a species emerging as the only model organism among the ant subfamily.