OIST faculty member discovers new species of ant in Fiji

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) Professor Evan Economo of the OIST Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit discovered a new species of ant in the South Pacific island of Fiji. The new species was named ‘Pristomyrmex tsuji’. The discovery was published in the academic journal ZooKeys on Oct. 4th.

Prof. Kazuki Tsuji from the University of the Ryukyus is a leading ecologist well known for his work on the ant species Pristomyrmex punctatus, a species native to Japan. Also an executive of the Ecological Society of Japan and member of the prestigious Science Council of Japan, Prof. Tsuji is very keen on promoting international collaboration in his fields of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Entomology. Prof. Tsuji reached out to OIST faculty who come from overseas, and invited them to symposia and conferences, thus acting as the liaison integrating OIST faculty into the Japanese scientific community.

“I wanted to honor his contribution to the field and fascinating work on Pristomyrmex punctatus. I also personally felt indebted to Prof. Tsuji for making foreign researchers like myself feel welcome in Japanese science,” said Prof. Economo when he announced the name of the new ant species.