Graduate student finds new ant species

An ant so unlike all other living ants that it was given an extraterrestrial name has been discovered in the Amazon rain forest. The tiny new species is the only known surviving member of an ant lineage that separated from the main family more than a hundred million years ago, DNA analysis revealed. The pale, eyeless ant appears to be adapted to living underground, possibly surfacing at night to forage. Its long mandibles suggest that the 0.08-inch-long (2-millimeter-long) animal is a predator, most likely of soft-bodied creatures such as termite larvae. Christian Rabeling, a graduate student at the University of Texas in Austin, found a single specimen of the new species, thought to be a worker ant, in tropical soils near Manaus, Brazil. "This beast is totally new to science," Rabeling said.

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