News
14/11/2014

IBE (CSIC-UPF): Discovered just before extinction? The first endemic ant from the Balearic Islands is endangered by climate change

IBE (CSIC-UPF): Discovered just before extinction? The first endemic ant from the Balearic Islands is endangered by climate change


News from IBE (CSIC-UPF)


Field campaigns are often used as an opportunity to collect samples for different reserach projects and specimens that look potentially interesting. This is how researchers discovered the first endemic ant from the Balearic Islands!

In this paper researchers describe Lasius balearicus sp. nov. based on morphology and DNA, and show that it has diverged in the island of Mallorca for about 1.5 million years. Distribution modelling predictions, the low intraspecific genetic diversity observed and the geographical and elevational isolation of the populations indicated a low probability for the survival of the species in the short term. This case illustrates that a fraction of biodiversity remains unexplored even within Europe, arguably the best-studied region of the planet, and that the available time-window for us to study and protect it may be in some instances notably narrow.

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Reference:
Talavera, G., Espadaler, X., Vila, R. (2014), Discovered just before extinction? The first endemic ant from the Balearic Islands (Lasius balearicus sp. nov.) is endangered by climate change. Journal of Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12438