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New ant species discovered in Arunachal’s Siang Valley after 121 years

New ant species discovered in Arunachal’s Siang Valley after 121 years

Indian researchers have discovered a new ant species in Arunachal Pradesh’s remote Siang Valley.

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New ant species discovered in Arunachal’s Siang Valley after 121 years New ant species discovered in Arunachal’s Siang Valley after 121 years

Indian researchers have discovered a new ant species in Arunachal Pradesh’s remote Siang Valley. 

The ant, barely 2mm long, has been named Paraparatrechina neela, derived from its unique blue colouration. 

This discovery comes 121 years after the last addition to the Paraparatrechina genus. The researchers found the ants while exploring a tree hole in Yinku village. 

Taking to his X handle Pema Khandu wrote, "Discovery of a new ant, named Paraparatrechina Neela by researchers in Siang Valley further underscores the richness of Arunachal Pradesh's diverse biodiversity."

The discovery was published in the journal ZooKeys by Dr Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan and Sahanashree R from ATREE, in collaboration with Aswaj Punnath from the University of Florida. 

Also Read: Arunachal excels at National Muaythai Championship in Guwahati

The team was on an expedition to re-survey the biodiversity of the Siang Valley, following the century-old 'Abhor expedition'. The 1911-1912 expedition was a British military exercise that also documented the natural history and geography of the region. 

The new survey has so far discovered a new subfamily, six new genera, and over 40 new species of insects. The researchers expressed concerns over large-scale infrastructure projects and climate change threatening the valley’s biodiversity. 

The new ant species, with its metallic-blue body and large eyes, is rare among insects. 

The blue colour in insects is often produced by biological photonic nanostructures, which create structural colours. 

The researchers are excited to explore whether the blue coloration aids in communication, camouflage, or other ecological interactions.

Edited By: Atiqul Habib
Published On: Jun 01, 2024