A team of researchers from Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) has spotted two rare species of ants in Arunachal Pradesh.

The two species identified as parasyscia ganeshaiahi and syscia indica have been found at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary of the hilly state nestled in the foothills of Himalayas, Hindustan Times reported.

Priyadarsanan Dharma Rajan, head of the team, said that the species were spotted during their study at the sanctuary.

Rajan said that the team has discovered 60 species of insects including ants, dung beetles, fig insects, parasitic hymenoptera over the last decade and a half.

They also gathered data on over 200 species of ants or almost 25% of Indian ant fauna from the sanctuary. Around 850 ant species have been reported in India.

Of the two newly discovered ant species is named parasyscia ganeshaiahi after eminent ecologist K N Ganeshaiah, the newspaper reported.

Parasyscia ganeshaiahi, small, cryptic ants usually nest in decaying logs or under rocks.

It is different from all congeners in India with its yellowish-brown coloured body and 11-segmented antennae.

All other parasyscia species in India have 12-segmented antennae.

“This is the first time, the genus has been recorded in Arunachal Pradesh, Northeast India,” the researchers said in a statement.

Syscia are rare ants usually encountered in leaf litter, rotting wood, and soil habitats, it added.

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