A dragon from “Game of Thrones” has come to life sort of.
A new ant species’ dragon-like appearance inspired scientists to name it for the fire-breathing star of the popular fantasy series. The Pheidole drogon’s large and distinctive spine reminded researchers of Drogon, one of the dragons on the “Game of Thrones” TV show, adapted from the novels written by George R. R. Martin.
The ant’s spiny characteristics were captured in detail using 3D-imaging technology, which the researchers employed to help identify and document several new ant species. Their findings were published in two different papers published online today (July 27) in the journal PLOS ONE. [StarStruck: Species Named After Celebrities]
“This is one of the first studies in ant taxonomy to use micro-CT,” study co-author Evan Economo, head of the Biodiversity and Biocomplexity Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST), said in a statement. “While this method is gaining popularity in different scientific fields, it is rare to use it in this way.”