Sometimes, research papers can be overly monotonous owning to their excruciating detailed analysis and reporting. That’s exactly how we feel whenever we read materials of such, but this one paper by Eli M. Samat, Georg Fischer and Evan P. Economo on the discovery of some new species of ants, entitled Inordinate Spinescence: Taxonomic Revision and Microtomography of the Pheidole cervicornis Species Group, managed to get our attention. While quite-a-mouthful, the paper’s title didn’t quite draw us to it; it was a report that points out that the researchers actually named two newly discovered species of ants after Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons from George R.R. Martin’s novel A Song of Ice and Fire, which was the basis of HBO series Game Of Thrones.

Pheidole drogon
Above: Pheidole drogon; Top: Pheidole viserion

Before you go gaga over dragon-like ants, we are sorry to disappoint you that the ants don’t look anything like Daenerys’ dear Viserion or Drogon. They still looks pretty much like most ants, except they do look a little more sinister – thanks to their usual spines which seems to protrude out of their backs, resembling, as research team member Evan Economo described it, “claws and wings.” Weird indeed. Instead of naming the eusocial creatures as dragon ants or worst, something scientifically geeky, the team decided to name them, with reference to their body colors, Pheidole viserion and Pheidole drogon, after the two Game Of Thrones stars.

Since we are not a scientific journal, nor anyone of us here is qualified scientist, we shan’t dig into the scientific details of these tiny animals. However, if you are interested, then grab yourself a hot cup of joe, or whatever is your cuppa, and starting your long, magical ant-astic journey HERE to learn more. For us, we are just delighted that Game Of Thrones’ characters are being honored in real-life – BUT only because dragons. If its Jon Snow, we won’t even be mentioning it.

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Images credit: Nobile and Masako Ogasawara.

PLOS ONE via All That Is Interesting

Published by Mike chua

Avid tech enthusiast, gadget lover, marketing critic and most importantly, love to reason and talk.