Researchers Discover 40 New Ant Species in The Philippines

The insect world never ceases to amaze us. Ant researcher David General and his colleagues have recently discovered 40 new species of ants in the Philippines.

They claim that these species were previously unknown and can be classified into 11 different genera. This is the taxonomic classification above species. With the addition of these 11 new genera, the total genera found in Philippines have become 92.

The major part of the research was focused at reforested study site in 2003 and 2004 onLuzonIsland. Though many of the trees in this area have been cut down to grow corn 27 year ago, the area had recovered its populations of native ants by the time the research team made its visit.

When General returned to the place to conduct further studies in 2009, he was astonished to see the trees chopped again. Even the stumps were removed. Rampant deforestation is causing species to go extinct before they’re discovered, said General.

Apart from deforestation, General and his team had to confront difficulties like travelling to 7,100 different uninhabited islands of the Philippines. They also had to contend with active communist insurgency and even malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

General said that the concentration of these many genera of species in a place like Philippines is unusual. It is said to be twice the number of genera found in Madagascar, a place renowned for its biodiversity.

Researchers are yet to name and describe individual species within these newly discovered genera . The research paper has been published in the journal Zookeys.

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