HKU and Okinawa School Launch EJINSIGHT Global Ant Mapping


A gigantic effort to document one of the most abundant species on the planet is underway to better understand its characteristics and diversity.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) and the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) are collaborating to map 15,000 ant species around the world, according to Apple Daily.

Dr Benoit Guenard, Assistant Professor at the HKU School of Biological Sciences, and Dr Evan Economo from OIST spent four years building an “ant map”.

Their work produced a website (http://antmaps.org) which tracks thousands of ant species around the world.

Ants were chosen for the study because they are one of the most numerous and ecologically important groups of insects, they said.

It is estimated that 10,000 to 15,000 species have yet to be described and classified.

Hong Kong has 170 known ant species including 15 new species discovered by Guenard and Economo.

These include a brand new species of leptanilla sp., Which is only 1.2mm long and found in Lung Fun Shan National Park, and the dracula ant.

Entomologists can check the distribution of thousands of ant species in any region or compare them through the website.

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