Scientists from the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM) and other Italian institutions have discovered a new species of lion ant in the south of the Iberian Peninsula and in the north of Tunisia. The new insect has been named Myrmeleon Almohadarum and its finding is published in the journal Zootaxa. The specimens from the peninsula “have been collected from dune, coastal and sandy areas in the provinces of Huelva, Málaga, Cádiz and Almería, and in more inland areas in Jaén, always with sandy deposits”, lists Fernando Acevedo, researcher of the Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology of the UCM and co-author of the study. Despite what may be deduced from their name, lion ants are not actually ants. They belong to another group of insects ( Neuroptera: Myrmeleontidae ) and, in appearance, resemble dragonflies.

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They are so called because their larvae normally Ireland Email Database prey on ants. “The larvae of the genus to which the new species belongs ( Myrmeleon ) perform cone traps in the sand as a strategy to prey,” explains Acevedo. Scientists have studied dozens of specimens, both larvae, and adults, with unique traits that characterize the species. For example, the larvae present a coloration and a pattern of thick setae (like hairs) in the ninth abdominal segment, which differentiates them from the specimens of other species. Larva of the new species discovered. / Davide Badano. Larva of the new species discovered. / Davide Badano. “Adults have an unmistakable color pattern in the pronotum, the dorsal part of the first thoracic segment, as well as some characteristics in the veins of the wings”, the researcher details. The average length of the males is

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21.56 millimeters while that of the females, 23.05 millimeters. Always with sand In addition to morphology, molecular analysis carried out by the researchers has confirmed that these lion ants belong to a new species. In terms of habitat, insects live in sandy coastal areas, dunes, river basins with dry sandy deposits or river banks in hot areas, always with sand. Scientists from four Italian institutions have also participated in the study, led by Víctor J. Monserrat, a researcher at the Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology of the UCM: the Institute of Agro-Environmental and Forest Biology, the National Center for the Study and Conservation of the Forest Biodiversity ‘Bosco Fontana’, the University of Sassari and the Institute for the Study of the Ecosystem.highlighting those published from his laboratory in Nature (2013) and Science (2016). In addition,

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