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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
- 6 March 2014 1:04 pm , Vol. 343 , #6175
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ScienceShot: 'Monster' Ants Found in Leaf Litter
31 July 2013 5:15 pm
The 19th century English poet William Blake might’ve been onto something when he considered an entire world in a grain of sand. But he probably didn’t consider tiny “monsters,” smaller than rice grains. Researchers have discovered 33 new species of ants in Central America and the Caribbean. The insects have broad, shieldlike faces and mandibles bristling with sharp teeth, such as Eurhopalothrix procera (pictured above), and none are longer than 2.5 millimeters. Their grim visages inspired names based on Maya demons Hunhau, Zipacna, and others. Many had been previously lumped in with other species of the Eurhopalothrix and Octostruma genera. The ants were found mostly in the plant debris of Central and South American mountain forests. Researchers had to sift through 100 square-meters of forest floor for every four or five of the rare specimens, then use a high-power microscope and micrometer measuring tool to note variations in size, the shape of their mandibles, and patterns of hair on their exoskeletons—all defining characteristics of individual species. Frightening work.