Little Devil Frog Vomits Up New Ant Species for Scientists

Posted on September 25, 2016

Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri

Scientists have discovered a new ant species in the belly of a little devil frog. The devil frog is poisonous and gains its toxicity from chemicals in the ants they eat.

The National Geographic reports that scientists capture the wild frogs and then flush out their stomachs. The magazine says this can help reveal "potential treasures" like the new ant species. The frogs can travel to small obscure and hidden areas of the jungle that scientists cannot access.

The frogs are not killed in the stomach flushing procedure. The researchers say in their paper, "Stomach flushing methods have been developed and successfully applied in numerous studies, which avoids killing individuals of the study species." The contents from the stomachs of over 300 frogs were examined by the researchers.

The new ant species from Ecuador has been named Lenomyrmex hoelldobleri. It is about a quarter of an inch long. Scientists believe it may use its forcep-like mouthparts to capture prey but so far they just have the one specimen to examine. A research paper on the new species was published here in the journal, ZooKeys.

Photo: C. Rabeling et. al.