Scientists seem to always be finding new species out there, but sometimes we find them in the most unlikely of places.
While simply examining the diet of tropical frogs from Ecuador, South America by inducing them to puke and then studying their vomit, scientists are then able to study the vomit to find out what it is that they eat and then release the frogs back into the wild. This process doesn’t harm the animals and protected endangered species from survival issues.
While doing this with a small devil frog to learn more about them and their diets, it seems biologist Christian Rabeling and his colleagues found something they weren’t expecting: a new species of ant was inside of the frog’s stomach just before it was puked up.
Image Credit: C. Rabeling & J. Sosa-Calvo
The scientists are giving the new ant species the name Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri, and their findings have been published in the journal ZooKeys.
In all of the unlikely places that it was found, the frog’s stomach is probably one of the least suspecting places scientists thought they were going to find a new species, especially while simply trying to learn more about their diets.
“Sometimes people think that our world is very well explored,” the lead author Christian Rabeling from the University of Rochester told National Geographic in a statement. Nothing could be farther from the truth.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have any other specimens of this ant species; this is the only one we have, and it came from a frog’s stomach. We don’t know anything about where the frog found it, or where we can find more of them.
From the specimen we do have, the researchers can only study what they have, and interestingly, the body of this ant exhibits oddly-shaped mandibles, which according to Rabeling, resemble forceps and might be used for prying its prey out of tight places.
Although we’re unlikely to learn more about this ant species until scientists are able to find more of them in the wild, you can bet they’ll probably be cranking up the frog stomach studying to try and find more of them.
Source: National Geographic