Two new ant species found in Arunachal Pradesh
A team of scientists from Bengaluru’s Ashoka Trust For Research In Ecology And The Environment (ATREE) has discovered two species of rare ants, parasyscia ganeshaiahi and syscia indica, at Arunachal Pradesh Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, who led the team, said they found the species during their study at the sanctuary in the Himalayan foothills 1,400 m above sea level. So far, they have discovered over 60 species of insects including ants, dung beetles, fig insects, parasitic hymenoptera over the last decade and a half. They also collected information on over 200 species of ants or almost 25% of Indian ant fauna from the sanctuary. Around 850 ant species have been reported in India.
Of the two newly discovered ant species is named parasyscia ganeshaiahi after eminent ecologist K N Ganeshaiah. Parasyscia ganeshaiahi, small, cryptic ants usually nest in decaying logs or under rocks. It is different from all congeners in India with its yellowish-brown coloured body and 11-segmented antennae. All other parasyscia species in India have 12-segmented antennae.
“This is the first time, the genus has been recorded in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India,” the researchers said in a press release. “Syscia are rare ants usually encountered in leaf litter, rotting wood, and soil habitats.”
In Asia, syscia are found in China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The genus lacks any verified record in India. Hence, the discovery in Arunachal Pradesh marks the first record of this rare ant genus from India.