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標題: [其他] Hong Kong discovers 27 new ant species in less than a year
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發表於 2015-8-6 20:56  資料 文集 短消息 
Hong Kong discovers 27 new ant species in less than a year

Submitted by lfpoon on Aug 6th 2015, 5:25pm
Ernest Kao ernest.kao@scmp.com

Hong Kong is home to over 190 species of ants, with many more expected to be found, according to university researchers who have discovered 27 new species in less than a year.

Fifteen of the species have been brought to light since November, with potentially a dozen new to both Hong Kong and science.

Some of the never-before-seen insects include a species of spider egg-eater ant, mini trap-jaw ants and the dracula ant, according to the research team at the University of Hong Kong’s school of biological sciences.

The researchers were even able to find a species from an entirely new genus and subfamily of ants – the dactaria templaris and leptanilla. The latter was found in Lung Fu Shan Country Park just a few hundred metres from the team’s HKU laboratory.

“It’s astonishing to be discovering new life almost every week,” team member and assistant professor Dr Benoit Guenard said.

Guenard estimated there could be upwards of 250 ant species in the city.

“People think that to discover new life, we have to go somewhere like the jungles of Borneo … But who knows, maybe the next discovery will be made by a six-year-old in a park.”
The researchers drew their samples from more than 100 locations in the city.

The world is home to more than 15,000 recorded species of ants, which play an important ecological role for the planet, from recycling and aeration of soil nutrients to seed dispersal.
The HKU team, in collaboration with the Okinawa Institute of Sciences and Technology, has also created the world’s first “antmap” – an interactive online database and map showing how and what species of ants are distributed across the world.

The platform is built on 1.6 million records of ant distribution worldwide and from synthesised information from 8,500 publications.

It allows a user to see where an ant originally comes from and where the species has spread.

Out of the 1.8 million of described species of life on earth, roughly one million are insects, compared with 310,000 types of plants, 10,600 kinds of birds and just 5,900 species of mammals.

“There is very limited understanding of the biodiversity of the most diverse and dominant species on the planet,” Guenard said. “Most of these insects have actually not be discovered. That’s why we must study insects.”

http://www.scmp.com/infographics ... hong-kong-less-year

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發表於 2015-8-6 21:03  資料 文集 短消息 
World's first ant map launched in Hong Kong

The world's first ever ant map showing the distribution of the tiny industrious creature around the globe was launched Thursday by the University of Hong Kong in a bid to shed more light on the insect world.

The colourful interactive online map (antmaps.org), which took four years to complete, displays the geographic locations of nearly 15,000 types of ant with the Australian state of Queensland home to the highest number of native species at more than 1,400.

"(Insects are) one of the main groups we need to focus on when we talk about biodiversity," Benoit Guenard, one of the co-founders of the map, said.

"Ants are very important in most ecosystems," Guenard added, as they cycle soil nutrients and help in seed dispersal.

"They are one of the best studied groups of insect."

'Antmaps', a joint project between HKU and the Okinawa Institute of Sciences and Technology, also differentiates ants which are native to a region and species which were imported.

Guenard, a professor at HKU's school of biological sciences, said the map would provide an important record of insect life around the world and would aid research and wildlife conservation.

"It will help us in approaching the question of how well we are doing in protecting certain regions," he told AFP.

Work on the map is ongoing with new species of ants discovered frequently, Guenard said.

He leads the university's study of ants in Hong Kong and said his team believed they had discovered 12 new species in the city in the past year.

"We are finding and describing new life almost every week... that's what I find absolutely astonishing about the work we do."

In a recent study by the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel published in July, ants were found to have an astonishing ability to mix collective muscle with individual initiative for heavy lifting.

In experiments, researchers showed how a dozen or more ants working in unison to haul, say, a large insect can adjust their course based on intelligence provided by a single ant joining the effort.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/worlds ... 502692.html#rf6xzFG


圖片: [AFP - Dr Benoit Guenard (C), Assistant Professor at the HKU School of Biological Sciences, and his t] AFP.jpg (2015-8-6 21:03, 66.79 K)



圖片: [AFP - Hong Kong ant species are displayed at the Hong Kong University (HKU) in Hong Kong on August 6] AFP 2.jpg (2015-8-6 21:03, 55.39 K)

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發表於 2015-8-6 23:56  資料 文集 短消息 
An international team from HKU and OIST launches the first online “antmaps” to visualise the global distribution of ants including 170 species from HK

August 6, 2015

Loss of biodiversity is a major concern for scientists and most governments around the world. Nevertheless, the understanding of the composition and geographic distribution of global biodiversity is still largely incomplete. This is best exemplified by the absence of synthesis on global distribution of insects, though their exceptional biodiversity of over 1.1 million species represents the vast majority of species on Earth (with 50% to 90% of insect species still undescribed/unknown). This knowledge gap represents one of the fundamental questions to be addressed in the frontier of macroecological studies, facilitating the devising of efficient conservation plans.

Dr. Benoit Guénard, Assistant Professor of School of Biological Sciences, in collaboration with Dr. Evan Economo from the Okinawa Institute of Sciences and Technology (OIST) Graduate School, have spent four years addressing the knowledge-gap problem by building a global distribution database and a website to visualise their results. Since studying all insects would be an insurmountable task, they are focusing on ants, one of the most abundant and ecologically important group of insects. With 15,000 species described, and another estimated 10,000-15,000 more species to be described and categorized, ants are ubiquitous and one of the best studied among insect groups, making them a perfect system to approach this question.

Current progress on their results can now be tracked on antmaps.org (http://antmaps.org/). With just a few clicks, entomologists can inquire about the distribution of thousands of species, account for the species diversity for any region of the world, or compare the similarities of different regions with one another.

Tropical and subtropical regions like Hong Kong are not only home for the majority of species on the planet but also the least studied regions of the world. With the exception of a handful of well-sampled hotspots, most tropical regions of the world are in urgent need of ant (as well as other insects) exploration. This is especially pressing considering the small range of many insect species discovered and the increasing pressure of habitat conversion for urbanization of agriculture. Simply put, if no efforts are made, thousands of species will disappear before we even had the chance to look at them. By developing a new tool like antmaps.org, the research team aspires to foster species exploration and increase species description rate.

170 ant species recorded in Hong Kong
Locally, the website antmap.org informs us that 170 species and 228 species have been recorded in Hong Kong and Guangdong province respectively, of which 114 of the species are shared in both regions. Those who take the time to study ants in detail will be fascinated by their diversity of shapes, sizes, colours or behaviours.

The species named Pseudoneoponera rufipes produce foam as a defensive mechanism, other species known as army ants (species of the Dorylus and Aenictus genera) are able to capture prey a hundred times larger than a single worker, other ant species create complex nest structures the size of a rugby ball by sewing leaves together (the weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina) or build tube-like shelters over the “cattle” insects they protect (Crematogaster species), while another species displays the fastest animal movement known (Odontomachus species) by completely closing its mandibles in about 0.4 millisecond (0.0004 second). All these natural wonders are happening right here and many more are waiting to be discovered in Hong Kong and all over the world.

Until a year ago, most of the work realized on ants in Hong Kong was done by Dr. John Fellowes, Honorary Assistant Professor of HKU Kadoorie Institute, nearly 20 years ago. In the view of this, Guénard’s team members in HKU’s Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory recently started in Hong Kong the ecological and behavioral exploration of these astonishing creatures with the aim to further enrich the knowledge of biodiversity in ants in the territory. For less than a year the team has conducted several surveys to gain better knowledge of local ant fauna and the results are astonishing. While this work is still at its beginning and focuses only on species present in leaf litter, it has already allowed the identification of 15 newly recorded ant species and potentially a dozen of new species for science. This represents an increase of 16% of the ant fauna known in the territory and it can be expected that more will be discovered.

One of the most significant discoveries is the collection of a tiny new species of Leptanillinae (Figure 1), a subfamily of ants thus far unknown from southeast China, with the closest geographic records for this subfamily reported in Hunan province and Taiwan. Incredibly, this species was collected in Lung Fu Shan Country Park - just a few hundred meters from the Laboratory. Another newly recorded ant species from Hong Kong - the dracula ant, Stigmatomma rothneyi – is shown in Figure 2 below. Indeed, anybody in Hong Kong could find a new insect species in their backyard or in the park they visit over the weekend.

The surveys will also provide important information about the distribution of unwanted, invasive ant species in Hong Kong. The spread of the fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) or other non-native species is important to monitor, and we are in critical need of information on their impacts on native fauna and flora of Hong Kong. Most importantly, early detection of invasive species is vital for efficient control of these populations and prevents further spread. This can only be achieved through regular monitoring and development of solid baseline knowledge on both native and non-native species.

The team will extend its study to other parts of China and Asia as well, potentially some of the most diverse regions in the world. Information gathered will contribute to the continuous update of antmaps.org, while development of new tools such as high resolution imaging to highlight the diversity and complexity of ants and other insects will increase accessibility for students and a broader audience.

To learn more about the Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory and its research, please visit: http://benoitguenard.wordpress.com/

Brief overview of some ant species encountered in Hong Kong & Guangdong province: http://www.scifac.hku.hk/file/upload/2833/antoverview.pdf

http://www.scifac.hku.hk/news/comm/antsmap


圖片: [The team of HKU Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory introducing the newly launched antma] HKU1.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 134.75 K)



圖片: [Dr Benoit Guénard displaying exhibits of ant species with his student Mr Roger Lee and his research] HKU2.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 1.11 M)



圖片: [Dr Benoit Guénard demonstrating the search of ant species with the antmap.] HKU3.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 1.07 M)



圖片: [Dr Benoit Guénard introducing the common ants that can be found in Hong Kong.] HKU4.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 1.06 M)



圖片: [Figure 1: Two extremes in size within the Hong Kong ant fauna - A species of the genus Leptanilla sp] HKU5.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 75.52 K)



圖片: [The “giant” Pseudoneoponera rufipes (the foamy ant) is 20 mm long. (Photo courtesy: HKU Insect Bio .] HKU6.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 123.57 K)



圖片: [Figure 2: The dracula ant, Stigmatomma rothneyi, one of the newly recorded ants from Hong Kong - Hea] HKU7.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 139.72 K)



圖片: [Mr Roger Lee, PhD student at the HKU Insect Biodiversity and Biogeography Laboratory elaborating the] HKU8.jpg (2015-8-7 10:07, 1.09 M)

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港大夥沖繩大學 建全球螞蟻地圖
http://hkm.appledaily.com/detail ... &issue=20150807

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港日蟻俠創建螞蟻地圖 學者更新港資料庫 首發現吸血鬼螞蟻

【明報專訊】香港大學與日本大學學者合作,推出全球首個螞蟻分佈資料庫——「螞蟻地圖」,涵蓋全球約1.5萬種螞蟻,包括本港有紀錄的170種。港大學者並由去年11月至今在港發現15種新紀錄螞蟻,包括名字嚇人的「吸血鬼螞蟻」,以及體型最小(長1.2毫米)的螞蟻品種。不過,學者指吸血鬼螞蟻其實不會吸血,像大部分螞蟻一樣,對人類無害。

記載已知1.5萬品種 只佔整體兩成

「螞蟻地圖」由港大生物科學學院助理教授管納德(Dr. Benoit Guénard)及其團隊,與日本沖繩科學技術大學院大學的學者合作創立。

管納德表示,昆蟲體積雖小,但品種數量逾100萬,為所有生物物種中最龐大,但已知品種僅佔整體兩成。世界上仍有大量未知生物,已知物種亦缺乏地理分佈資料,故希望透過物種豐富、數量龐大的螞蟻,填補知識缺口。螞蟻地圖介紹全球已知螞蟻品種的分佈及特性。

現時,香港已知螞蟻品種約170種,大多由港大榮譽教授費洛斯博士於1992至1996年研究所得。相隔20年,管納德成為新「蟻教授」,更新香港螞蟻資料庫,去年11月起對本港螞蟻開展新研究。研究初期,團隊走到港大校園及附近龍虎山的山野找蟻蹤,成功錄得15個新螞蟻紀錄及12個潛在新品種,大幅提高本港已知螞蟻品種16%,達到近200種。

在港發現15新品種 擁近200種

管納德表示,長足捷蟻及大頭蟻是其中兩種香港常見的螞蟻,而本港絕大部分螞蟻都對人無害,市民毋須擔心。至於早年襲港的紅火蟻是入侵性蟻種,原生於南美洲,後經物流等途徑傳至香港,因無天敵及競爭對手,迅速在市區繁殖。紅火蟻不但會咬人,還會影響本地生態系統。研究人員指出,目前唯一可做的是定期監測,一旦出現異常情况,便馬上通報政府。

發掘新物種並非科學家專利,任何人都有可以做「蟻俠」,協助尋找新昆蟲物種。管納德呼籲,市民若發現疑似新品種螞蟻,可馬上聯絡「昆蟲生物多樣性與生物地理學實驗室」,當螞蟻獲確認為新種,發現者可為牠起名。

螞蟻地圖網址﹕http://antmaps.org

http://news.mingpao.com/pns/%E6% ... 00002/1438883252141

教授讚港蟻品種多

【明報專訊】提起昆蟲,很多人都色變,早年紅火蟻襲港更令人心惶惶。負責是次研究的首席調查員、來自法國的「蟻俠」管納德教授(Dr. Benoit Guénard)則相反,他10歲時不但無懼昆蟲,還被牠們的多樣性及不同生活習性吸引,覺得昆蟲「令人讚嘆」。

管納德於魁北克大學加拿大分校完成生物系學士學位後,在該校升讀碩士,並專研螞蟻,其後於北卡羅來納州立大學攻讀博士學位。他4年前開始與日本沖繩科學技術大學院大學的Evan Economo博士整合螞蟻資料,建立全球首個數據庫網站——「螞蟻地圖」(http://antmaps.org)。

管納德去年9月來港,現於港大生物科學學院擔任助理教授,繼續其螞蟻研究工作。比起加拿大,他說更喜歡香港,因為香港位於亞熱帶,螞蟻種類繁多,他更笑說加拿大「什麼都沒有」。

http://news.mingpao.com/pns/%E6% ... 00002/1438883253218


圖片: Ming Pao.jpg (2015-8-7 09:35, 94.8 K)

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全球首個「螞蟻地圖」面世

【本報訊】全球現時螞蟻品種約一萬五千種,蟻蹤處處,本港有學者與日本大學合作,花四年時間整理世界各地的螞蟻品種和分布資科,匯集成全球首個「螞蟻地圖」網站(http://antmaps.org),研究團隊更發現廿七個香港新記錄螞蟻品種。負責研究的學者期望,透過整理全球螞蟻品種的分布,有助學術界探索新物種,並協助政府制訂適切的環境保育政策,保護部分品種免於絕種。

該地圖是香港大學生物科學學院助理教授管納德及其研究團隊,聯同日本沖繩科學技術大學院大學,花四年時間整理而成,地圖羅列不同國家及地區、近一萬五千種螞蟻品種。透過搜尋功能,更可掌握相關螞蟻品種的原生地及分布範圍。

港發現27新品種

另外,研究團隊去年於本港進行生態普查,發現二十七個香港新記錄的螞蟻品種,包括會吸取蜈蚣幼蟲體液的「吸血鬼螞蟻」,而十二個更屬全球首次發現、有待確認的潛在新品種。生態普查有助掌握入侵性蟻種,如入侵性紅火蟻的分布,及早發現蟻蹤,可更有效控制牠們的數量,防止牠們擴散,以減低對野生動、植物的影響。

http://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20150807/00176_072.html
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