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Desert Diversity: Two new Iranian Cataglyphis species

Cataglyphis shahrekordensis major worker. Khalili-Moghadam et al., 2023.

Cataglyphis is as a well-known desert ant seen dashing across the sand, often with vibrant colors. They are thoroughly adapted to harsh, hot conditions and display an impressive amount of biodiversity throughout a number of species groups, albeit restricted to the Old World; however, some range into colder regions too.

In a recent currently unreviewed study this August, Arsalan Khalili-Moghadam, Sebastian Salata and Lech Borowiec describe two new species of Cataglyphis. Cataglyphis shahrekordensis is a member of the C. altisquamis group, and Cataglyphis lirabiensis a member of the C. cursor group. The former (seen above) has a striking red-black contrast, and the latter golden yellow-black. Both species are interestingly found in colder, high-altitude climates, common in parts of Iran. In addition to species descriptions, some modifications to identification keys for Iranian Cataglyphis are provided.

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