Scientists have stumbled upon a new ant species inside a poisonous frog. Finding new species of animals and insects can be hard, and would often involve much effort. Sometimes, however, the unexpected can happen, as in this case.
The new ant species has turned up from the belly of a Little Devil frog from in Ecuador, according to Science Daily. The Little Devil frog is known for eating ants, so researchers would use them to hunt for new ant species. Once they've eaten enough, their contents are then flushed for researchers to study.
The new ant species is mysterious in that it is the only one known of its kind. It has been named Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri, after the Bert Hoholldobler. He is a German evolutionary biologist and ant expert celebrating his 80th birthday.
Knowing about the new ant species would be the next challenge since there is little information about it. The ant found is already dead so not much information could be obtained from it. Researchers did note that the ant is a female worker and that it is the seventh species in a little known Neotropical genus. It is also said to be larger than the other members of the genus.
Christian Rabeling, a myrmecologist from the University of Rochester, New York said that the ant's mandibles are like forceps. It likely preyed on smaller insects such as termites, though that hypothesis has not been proven yet, as noted by the National Geographic. Its mandibles are slender and elongated much like other members of its genus.
The search now focuses on finding where the living members of the new ant species are. Scientists will likely search for it in Ecuador. Once a sizable number of them has been found, it would then be given various prey in order to see what it could catch. It would not be an easy task, however, as the region from where it has been found is also one of the most threatened areas.
In related Science news, it has been recently reported that Hawaii bees are near extinction.