New ant species found in frog’s stomach

|  October 6, 2016
Photo: Flickr / Santiago Ron

Photo: Flickr / Santiago Ron

Scientists discovered a new ant species while flushing the stomach of a frog in Ecuador, reports National Geographic.

The new tropical ant species Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri was found inside a “little devil frog” (Oophaga sylvatica), which is sometimes referred to with its Spanish name, “diablito.” The species was discovered during a routine research method where scientists capture tropical frogs and flush their stomachs, then release them back into the wild. The purpose is to better understand the frog’s toxic secretions.

“The diablito, a kind of bright orange poison frog, is known for its love of ants,” Christian Rabeling, a myrmecologist at the University of Rochester, N.Y., tells Naional Geographic. Researchers named the species after Bert Hölldobler, a German evolutionary biologist and ant expert, for his 80th birthday.

[Take a look at National Geographic’s photos of the new ant species.]

Not much is known about L. hoelldobleri yet.

“The shape of the mandibles reminds me of forceps,” Rabeling tells National Geographic. “This may mean that the ant, which is less than a quarter of an inch long, uses its mouthparts to pry even smaller prey animals, such as termites, out of tight crevices. But I am just speculating,” he says.

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