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Mauritian ant discovered on India’s mountain range

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A group of entomologists have discovered an ant species from Mauritius on the Western Ghats, a protected mountain range in western India.

Scientific team leader Dr. Sadasivan told India’s The Hindu newspaper that this was the first report of Proceratium in peninsular India.

The new Proceratium species is a hypogeic resident of wet tropical rainforests at mid-elevation of 900-1200 m. The nearest record of the genus Proceratium in the Afrotropical region is from Mauritius, and called Proceratium avium.

Mauritian ant discovered on India’s mountain range
Photo: Creative Commons

In 2005, seven new collections of Proceratium were discovered on Le Pouce mountain.

All nests encountered were located in Nuxia verticillata Lamark (Loganiaceae), with entrances about 1.5-2 m above ground. This tree was also the preferred nesting site for Pristomyrmex bispinosus.

Mauritian ant discovered on India’s mountain range
Photo: Creative Commons

This tree, called bois maigre in Mauritius, has gnarled and twisted trunks. It is endemic to Mauritius and Reunion and appears to be the sole nexsing site for Pristomyrmex bispinosus and Proceratium avium.

The high winds that are common on Le Pouce abrade the twisted and intertwined trunks and branches. This action damages the tree at the contact point between intersecting branches and leads to the creation of a rot pocket and nesting site.

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The information and opinions expressed in our published works are those of authors/sources believed to be reliable. NewsMoris makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information expressed.