University of Utah Prof. Discovers "Terrifying" Predator Ants | Buzz Blog

Thursday, August 1, 2013

University of Utah Prof. Discovers "Terrifying" Predator Ants

Posted By on August 1, 2013, 5:00 PM

  • Pin It
    Favorite
click to enlarge blog9766widea.jpg

As if the forest floors of Central America and the Caribbean weren't terrifying enough, what with poisonous snakes and foot-long centipedes, Jack Longino, a biologist at the University of Utah, has recently identified 33 new species of "nightmare ants."---

According to Longino, “Their faces are broad shields, the eyes reduced to tiny points at the edges and the fierce jaws are bristling with sharp teeth. They’re horrifying to look at up close. That’s sort of what makes them fun.”

Unlike most ants, these new species are predatory. Below are two pictures of the front and side views of a new ant species named Eurhopalothrix zipacna, which is found in Guatemala and Honduras and was named for a violent, crocodile-like Mayan demon. Longino named many of these new species after Mayan lords and demons because “they’re from Central America, live in the dark leaf litter on the forest floor -- kind of like the underworld -- and they look pretty demon-ish, ” said Longino.

click to enlarge ants_2.jpg

click to enlarge ants_thumbnail.jpg

These new species feature a labrum -- jaws that open and close sideways, instead of up and down -- that adds to their frightening appearance.

click to enlarge ants_3.jpg

"Although these ants may look terrifying, they are way too small to sting us," Longino says. "Thus, they pose no threat to humans. Some of these ants are venomous, but to them, we would be like a giant brick wall."

Ants play an important role in many ecosystems, Longino says. “They are major movers of stuff. Some act as predators and influence the population sizes of other insects by eating them.”

Photos courtesy of John T. Longino

Tags: , , , ,

More on News

  • Uncle Joe Comes to Town

    Former Vice President Joe Biden reflects on love, loss and purpose during U visit.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Council Raises Its Pay

    The Salt Lake City Council has voted unanimously to raise its salary more than $9,000.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Dabakis’ Decision

    Jim Dabakis will run for Salt Lake City mayor. Outgoing and outspoken state senator says he's ready to ‘jump in the water’
    • Dec 11, 2018
  • More News »

More by Kate Ayer

Latest in Buzz Blog

  • Uncle Joe Comes to Town

    Former Vice President Joe Biden reflects on love, loss and purpose during U visit.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Categorical Error

    Awards-season “category fraud” is an industry habit that everyone plays along with. But why?
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • Council Raises Its Pay

    The Salt Lake City Council has voted unanimously to raise its salary more than $9,000.
    • Dec 13, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

© 2018 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation