Tuesday 21 August 2012

New species of Ghost Ant named after Edward O. Wilson.

Ghost Ants of the genus Tapinoma are small stingless ants with a worldwide distribution. There are over sixty described species, including the sun-loving European Erratic Ant (Tapinoma erraticum), the widespread pest species Tapinoma melanocephalum, and the North American Odorous House Ant. 

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 30 July 2012, Mostafa Sharaf and Abdulrahman Aldawood of the Plant Protection Department of the College of Food and Agriculture Sciences at King Saud University, and Magdi ElHawagry of the Basic Sciences Department of the Community College at Al-Baha University, describe a new species of Ghost Ant from Dhi Ayn Archaeological Village in the Al Sarawat Mountains of Saudi Arabia.

The Dhi Ayn Archaeological Village in Al Bahah Province, where the new species of Ant was discovered. Brian Fisher in Sharaf et al. (2012).

The new species is named Tapinoma wilsoni, in honour of the celebrated ecologist, ant specialist and popular biology writer Edward O. Wilson of the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology.  The species is described on the basis of 30 worker Ants captured during field-work in 2011. These are 1.56-1.84 mm Ants, yellow or brownish-yellow in colour and covered in fine hairs.

Tapinoma wilsoni in lateral view. Sharaf et al. (2012).

Tapinoma wilsoni in dorsal view. Sharaf et al. (2012).

Frontal view of the head of Tapinoma wilsoniSharaf et al. (2012).

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