This amazing new species of ant, found in the Philippines, is called the Pirate Ant. It really looks like it’s made of glass!
The research team, led by Sabine Frohschammer, a PhD student at Universität Regensburg, in Denmark, was searching for other species of ants when they came across this almost-see-through specimen in a shady stream bed.
“Due to the darkness of the rainforest and the translucent body parts of the tiny ants they were nearly invisible. Under bright light and a magnifier we detected the nice stripe across the eyes and therefore always referred to these species as ‘the pirates,'” Frohschammer said in a statement.
Here’s the side view of the pirate stripe, which is only on the female ants:
The researchers aren’t sure how this strange glassy pigment pattern helps the ants. Because they have poor vision and live and mate in the dark and shady streambed, they don’t think it’s a mark of the ant’s gender.
It may be a tool to distract the ant’s predators, they said.
Here’s a close up of the glassy outer covering of the ant, which they named Cardiocondyla pirata. The study was published on May 17 by the journal ZooKeys.
The males really look ghostly:
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