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Nature & Environment

Rare 'T. rex' ants discovered in Singapore

By T.K. Randall
May 18, 2017 · Comment icon 1 comment
For the first time ever, scientists have had the opportunity to study a colony of these elusive insects.
Named after the carnivorous dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex, the ants had long remained something of a mystery to science despite the fact that they were first discovered more than 20 years ago.

Their extreme rarity, coupled with the fact that only a single specimen had ever been collected, meant that next to nothing was known about the species.

This would all be set to change however when biologist Mark Wong and colleagues came across a colony of T. rex ants in Singapore while conducting an ant diversity survey in 2016.
It turned out that the ants were most likely nocturnal, thus explaining how they had managed to remain so elusive over the years. The researchers also found that, despite being partial to eating their own kind, the ants seemed to shun other foods such as mites, millipedes and even honey.

When threatened, the insects curled up and played dead until the danger had passed.

"Increasingly, we're finding that many ants which live underground have unique life histories and ecological relationships that are poorly understood," said Wong.

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Comment icon #1 Posted by coolguy 7 years ago
Very cool, i allways though ants were cool

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