MARTIALIS HEUREKA is a species of ant discovered in 2000 from the
* 1 Etymology * 2 Discovery * 3 Description * 4 References * 5 External links
The aberrant features of this ant led Stefan P. Cover and Edward O.
Wilson to comment that it was an ant that had to be from Mars. The
genus name, then, refers to the planet Mars, alluding to the strange
characteristics that seem to come from nowhere; the species epithet is
Two specimens were first discovered by Manfred Verhaagh of the
Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in
Head of a worker
Like all members of the family Formicidae, these ants have distinctive elbowed antennae, prominent metapleural glands, and distinctive petioles . The ants, though, lack compound eyes, are pale in colour, and lead a subterranean life, preying on small litter organisms. The workers have unusual, elongated mandibles , distinctly basal in their features.
Based on the morphology, the authors suggested the ants lead an underground life, possibly foraging on the surface during the night. The first two specimens were found in soil core samples,while another was found in leaf litter. They probably make use of pre-existing underground cavities,as their legs do not show adaptations for digging.
* ^ Bolton, B. (2014). "Martialis". AntCat. Retrieved 18 August 2014. * ^ A B C D E Rabeling, Christian; Brown, Jeremy M.; Verhaagh, Manfred (2008). "Newly discovered sister lineage sheds light on early ant evolution" . Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 105 (39): 14913–14917. PMC 2567467 . PMID 18794530 . doi :10.1073/pnas.0806187105 .