Scientists have discovered a strangely patterned new insect in the Philippines, dubbing it the “pirate ant” because of a dark stripe over its eyes that makes it look like it’s wearing an eye patch.
The unique stripe over the pirate ant’s eye gives the impression of an eye-patch. / BERNHARD SEIFERT/LIVESCIENCE.COM
The formal name of the newfound creature is Cardiocondyla pirata, and belongs to a group of species that are found from Thailand across the whole Indonesian-Malaysian region.
“On a collection trip to the Philippines we looked for different species of the genus Cardiocondyla that is known for its astonishing morphological and behavioral diversity of male ants,” Sabine Frohschammer, a doctoral student at Germany‘s Universitat Regensburg, said in a statement.
Frohschammer and colleagues picked up some already known species, but then found an unidentifiable one lurking between big stones in a shady streambed.
“Due to the darkness of the rain forest and the translucent body parts of the tiny ants they were nearly invisible,” the researchers said. “Under bright light and a magnifier we detected the nice stripe across the eyes and therefore always referred to these species as ‘the pirates.’”
The purpose of this ribbon of pigment on the mostly pigment-free pirate ants remains a mystery, the researchers say, especially since it has not been seen on any other creature of its kind. Pirate ants mate in the dark, and they have poor sight, relying mostly on chemical and tactile recognition cues, not visual ones, for communicating with other individuals in their species. That characteristic eliminates the possibility that the “eye patch” could serve as some sort of sexual signpost, the researchers say.
We call ourselves the most evolved of the Species with an ability to do things and can handle tools.
But an Orangutan is found fishing with a Spear after watching local Fishermen!
Tool use among orangutans was first documented by Carel van Schaik. In 1994, Carel observed orangutans developing tools to help themselves eat, while conducting field work in Gunung Leuser National Park, in the northwest Sumatra.
Orangutan Fishes with Spear.
Specifically the orangutans were using sticks to pry open pulpy fruits that have “Plexiglas needles” capable of delivering a painful jab covering them. Using the tools, the orangutans were getting past handling the prickly husk and into the nutritious fruit. From an anthropological viewpoint, tool use represents an aspect of culture, since the entire group participates in a behavior that has developed over time. One unique thing to clarify is that only Sumatran orangutans have been observed to use tools, not orangutans from Borneo…
Recently, Gerd Schuster co-author of Thinkers of the Jungle: The Orangutan Report, took this photograph of,
“a male orangutan, clinging precariously to overhanging branches, flails the water with a pole, trying desperately to spear a passing fish…
The extraordinary image, a world exclusive, was taken in Borneo on the island of Kaja…
This individual had seen locals fishing with spears on the Gohong River.
Although the method required too much skill for him to master, he was later able to improvise by using the pole to catch fish already trapped in the locals’ fishing lines.”
Eastern gorilla Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda.
African Forest Elephant
Wild Boar Pasoh Forest Reserve, Malaysia.
All images courtesy of the TEAM Network
Giant anteater Vulnerable. Manaus, Brazil. [High resolution]