Scientists discover 13 new ant species in Hong Kong


As per new research, scientists found new ant species in Hong Kong. The study was led by Dr Benoit Guénard from the School of Biological Sciences of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the new discovery added 13 new members to the 174 officially recorded species.

"If you believe that all life surrounding you in Hong Kong has been discovered, then you'll realize that you just need to look a bit closer... not for big things, but for ants and other insects walking at your feet, to find a plethora of new creatures," said Benoit Guénard in a recent statement, reports.

It should be noted that out of the 13 species discovered, three of them fall in the genus 'Strumigenys', an entirely new species known to science and they are only found in Hong Kong. These ants are also known as trap-jaw ants are very tiny and they measure only 2 to 4 mmillimetres long. Even though these ants are very small in size, they are dangerous predators of the small arthropods living in the forest leaf-litter.

During the time of hunting, Strumigenys usually open their mandibles widely and will snap their prey with the fast-closing movement of their mandibles.

Another five species of the ants, discovered during the research, are newly recorded ant family members from Hong Kong, but they were previously discovered in other Asian mainlands.

Out of these five, Strumigenys formosa was discovered only in Taiwan and only two queens have been spotted by experts since its discovery in 1988.

Another five species which were newly discovered are non-native to Hong Kong, and this is for the first time that they are being discovered in the Asian mainland.

Benoit Guénard revealed that this new discovery could encourage the study of natural history all around the world, and especially in Hong Kong.

"There are still many species in Hong Kong to be discovered and the support and involvement from the community in this endeavor are absolutely fundamental," added Guénard.