A unique type of ant species has been found in a poison frog’s stomach.
Most new ant species are found beneath piles of leaves by researchers. It appears to be the case that searching through the gut contents of poison frogs may yield such novel rare species of ants as well. A long-toothed ant has recently been discovered inside the belly of a Little Devil poison frog hailing from Ecuador.
The team of researchers have published their study in the open access journal ZooKeys.
The ant is called Lenomyrmex hoelidobieri. The ant is the seventh known species among its related group of insects.
This ant has an amazing feature. That happens to be its long and thin mouth part. It is larger than any of the other members within its biological group.
The jaws tell a tale that is unique. Specialized predatory habits marked the feeding behavior of this ant species. Yet we know very little about its feeding habits. They remain somewhat of a mystery.
As for the poison frog, its diet mainly consists of ants. It was found in the Choco region of Ecuador. This is a very gifted area as far as biological diversity is concerned yet it is also one of the most environmentally threatened of the lot.
The scientists had a lot to say regarding this find. For one thing, studying the contents of the stomachs of vertebrates yields a ton of data regarding trophic ecology.
This branch of ecology deals with the feeding relations between animals of all kinds. Ants are just one of the sources of dietary material for some animals.
The scientists did not dissect the poison frog to get at the long-toothed ant inside its stomach. Nowadays there are stomach flushing techniques that allow the matter inside the animal to be ejected into the outside environment. Hence there is no need to kill the animal.