Six New Ant Species Part of Famous Vampire Family
In the tropics a tiny ant, so small it’s barely perceptive to the naked eye, lives in the dark recesses of leaves and below ground. Although not found in Transylvania, the new species are part of the known “Dracula” family of ants.
The Dracula ants to have a wide range of territory worldwide, but are limited to tropical climates. The six new species share traits with the Dracula family because they are bloodsuckers.
Scientists who named this group observed an unusual habit where the ants pierce the bodies of their younger family members and suck their blood. Entomologists have determined that this behavior is a means of transmitting nutrients throughout the colony.
The six new members of the genus Prinopelta were found off the coast of Africa in Madagascar and the Seychelles islands. The last discovery of a new species in this genus, found in Madagascar, was in 1924.
There are now 21 species of this ant known to be living in Madagascar, a major source for insect biodiversity.
The research was a result of support from the Madagascar Biodiversity Center, which helped provide funding for field research over the past ten years.