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Scientists discover new species of exploding ant

Scientists discover new species of exploding ant

Technology
A new species of ant which can detonate its body when threatened has been discovered by scientists. A research team from Austria, Thailand and Malaysia found the insects, Colobopsis explodens, in the rain forest in Borneo.The ants fend off attackers by latching on to enemies and flexing their bodies so violently that they explode, releasing a toxic yellow liquid and killing themselves instantly.The yellow goo is sticky, can be fatal for predators, and is said to smell similar to curry.This tactic is used by minor worker ants to kill or hold off intruders, often to defend the whole colony.Researchers described the species as "particularly prone to self-sacrifice".Image:The 'doorkeeper' ant has a plug-shaped face to barricade nest entrancesIt is rare in nature for individuals to volunta...
Conservationists use astronomy software to save species

Conservationists use astronomy software to save species

Science
Researchers are using astronomical techniques used to study distant stars to survey endangered species.The team of scientists is developing a system to automatically identify animals using a camera that has been mounted on a drone.It is able to identify them from the heat they give off, even when vegetation is in the way.Details of the system were presented at the annual meeting of the European Astronomical Society in Liverpool, UK.The idea was developed by Serge Wich, a conservationist at Liverpool John Moores University, and Dr Steve Longmore, an astrophysicist at the same university. He says that the system has the potential to greatly improve the accuracy of monitoring endangered species and so help save endangered species."Conservation is not only about the numbers of animals but also...
Global register lists alien species

Global register lists alien species

Science
The first global register of alien species shows that a fifth of 6,400 plants and animals catalogued are causing harm.Some of the biggest factors in their spread are ballast water in ships for marine species and trade in ornamental plants on land, say scientists.They released data for 20 countries this week, with the aim of completing the register by the end of the year.Invasive species are living things that are not native to an ecosystem.They can harm the environment, the economy, or human health. For instance, rats can cause bird extinctions on islands, while the crown-of-thorns star fish is smothering parts of the Great Barrier Reef.The Global Register of Introduced and Invasive Species (GRIIS) provides the first country-wide checklists of introduced and invasive species."The GRIIS is ...
Moustached monkey is separate species

Moustached monkey is separate species

Science
A monkey from Ethiopia and Sudan with a "handlebar moustache" has been identified as a distinct species.Scientists took a fresh look at the distribution and physical appearance of patas monkeys in Ethiopia, confirming there were two species rather than one.It was originally described as a separate species in 1862, but was later folded in - incorrectly - with other patas monkeys to form a single species.Details have been published in the journal Primate Conservation.Patas monkeys are found from west to east across sub-Saharan Africa; they are among the fastest-moving of ground-dwelling monkeys - able to reach speeds of about 55 km/h (34 mph).Spartaco Gippoliti, from the IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, reassessed the species status of patas monkeys in the Blue Nile region of Ethiopia and ...
Study reveals 18 new pelican spider species

Study reveals 18 new pelican spider species

Science
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Researchers with the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History have discovered 18 new species of pelican spider, a group of arachnids that look as absurd as they sound.The new species were discovered living in the jungles of Madagascar, an African island in the Indian Ocean that hosts a plethora of endemic plant and animal species -- species not found anywhere else on Earth.Arachnologists Hannah Wood and Nikolaj Scharff conducted their survey using specimens collected during their own field work as well as spiders found during an arthropod survey organized by the California Academy of Sciences.Most spiders are opportunistic, eating whatever gets stuck in their web. As such, many spiders occasionally eat other spiders. Pelican spiders, however, eat only other spiders...