THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Two new species of rare ants have been discovered from Arunachal Pradesh by a team of researchers from ATREE. The research team which includes two researchers from Kerala has discovered the species from Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary (EWS) in Arunachal Pradesh.
One of the species has been named Parasyscia ganeshaiahi in honour of writer, ecologist and one of the founders of ATREE- professor K N Ganeshaiah. It is for the first time the genus has been recorded from Arunachal Pradesh.
The other has been named Syscia indica and it is the first record of that ant genus from India. The Syscia indica is a blind ant and both the ants are cryptic ants often found hiding under leaf litter, decaying logs and rocks. The discovery is by a team of researchers led by Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan (senior fellow), Aswaj Punnath, Sahanashree (ATREE, Bengaluru), Aniruddha Marathe (IISc, Bengaluru) and WS Udayakantha (Sri Lanka).
“Syscia are rare ants usually encountered in leaf litter, rotting wood, and soil habitats. In Asia, Syscia has been known from China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The genus lacks any verified record in India. Hence the present discovery of Syscia indica from Arunachal Pradesh marks the first record of this rare ant genus from India,” says Aswaj Punnath, researcher. The present discovery takes the count of species of Syscia to 39 in the world.
This new discovery was published in the latest issue of the journal ZooKeys. The study was supported by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT, Government of India), National Mission on Himalayan Studies (MoEF&CC) and the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.