Well, Ziggy Stardust may have had his Spiders from Mars, but now the University of Texas has ants from Mars! According to the latest UT Newsletter:
A new species of blind, subterranean, predatory ant discovered in the Amazon rainforest by University of Texas at Austin evolutionary biologist Christian Rabeling is likely a descendant of the very first ants to evolve.This is great news! Just what I was hoping for – even more bugs to contend with!
The new ant is named Martialis heureka, which translates roughly to “ant from Mars,” because the ant has a combination of characteristics never before recorded. It is adapted for dwelling in the soil, is two to three millimeters long, pale, and has no eyes and large mandibles, which Rabeling and colleagues suspect it uses to capture prey.
Image: C. Rabeling and M. Verhaagh. Copyright: University of Texas at Austin.