The Manhattant: A Unique Species Of Ant Found Only In New York


The ManhattAnt is a one-of-a-kind ant that is the densestly populated in New York City.’

Biologists researching six-legged New Yorkers discovered a previously unknown species of prehistoric insect living in the Broadway medians between 63rd and 76th streets.

The “ManhattAnt” — which has yet to be given an official scientific name — is thought to have evolved as a result of its isolation in the concrete jungle, where it has adapted to a warmer, drier urban environment, according to researchers.

What’s interesting about them is that they were not discovered in the first NY ant survey. When we returned to New York 5 years later, L. Because emarginatus was one of the most common ants in the city, their population quickly grew. Following the pavement ants, L. On Manhattant ‘s sidewalks, emarginatus is probably the second most common ant.

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Dunn’s researchers realized back in the lab that the Broadway bugs didn’t match any of the 13,000 known ant breeds after taking samples from the roadway median.

The Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers surround Manhattant Island, which makes up the majority of the city. It’s the heart of “the Big Apple,” with skyscrapers like the Empire State Building, neon-lit Times Square, and Broadway theaters among the world’s major commercial, financial, and cultural centers.

In 2010, an entomologist discovered a new breed of sweat bee in Prospect Park, and in 2002 scientists discovered a new breed of centipede roaming Central Park.

Scientists said the city could be teeming with new species.

“It’s so easy to come across something and think, ‘Someone probably knows what this is,’ ” said Dunn. “But a lot of the time nobody knows what it is. It’s very exciting.”

Interestingly, L. emarginatus does not seem to feed on human foods. They also never come to our human-food baits when we place them on Broadway to study other species. Instead, they seem to subsist mainly on honeydew and insects they eat in the canopy of street trees, but we don’t know that for sure.

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