Date
22 January 2017
Ying Luo (left) and Dr. Benoit Guénard at the Lung Fu Shan Country Park where the Golden Tree Ant was first discovered. Photo: HKU
Ying Luo (left) and Dr. Benoit Guénard at the Lung Fu Shan Country Park where the Golden Tree Ant was first discovered. Photo: HKU

HKU biologists discover new ant species

A new ant species has been discovered in Hong Kong.

An article on the discovery of Paratopula bauhinia, or Golden Tree Ant, was published on the Asian Myrmecology, an annual journal dedicated to the study of Asian ants, last month, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The ant, which is named after Hong Kong’s floral emblem, the Bauhinia, was discovered by a research team from the University of Hong Kong led by Dr. Benoit Guénard and research assistant Ying Luo.

It was actually found by Luo  in September last year on a foothill of Lung Fu Shan Country Park, which is just several hundred meters from the HKU campus.

The unusually large size of the ant (about 7 millimeters long) and its golden appearance aroused the curiosity of Luo, who brought it back to the university’s laboratory for inspection.

The new discovery represents the 22nd ant species described from Hong Kong since 1858, with the last one being the Barry Bolton ant in 2000.

The Golden Tree Ant has only been found at Lung Fu Shan Country Park and so it can be considered as endemic to Hong Kong Island, the research team concluded.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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