The newly identified Pheidole drogon worker ants are called “dragon ants” based on their strange, reptile-like spine.
But these tropical insects also got their name because the scientists who discovered them are obsessed with Game Of Thrones!
According to the study that chronicles the finding of the two separate species, one population in Papua New Guinea and the other in Fiji — explains the ants reminded the researchers of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons in the HBO fantasy series!
But unlike the fire-breathing dragons in the show, you have no reason to be afraid of the harmless drogon worker ants.
Instead of snacking on charred sheep and the occasional extra-crispy shepherd’s boy like Dany’s Drogon, these insects are scavengers and collectors of seeds.
But with a gnarly spine and scary spikes around their necks (see below), these ants still look like quite the intimidating beasts:
Eli Sarnat, one of the authors of the research paper, theorized the crazy spines might be a way to evade predators, suggesting:
“Another idea of why these crazy spines might have evolved is they’re signaling to predators don’t eat me. Like a spiked collar on a dog, like a signal. Don’t mess with me. I might get stuck in your throat.”
Sounds like a child of Daenerys to us!
We can wait for more newly discovered animals to be named after GoT characters. Who wouldn’t love to learn about the Cersei Centipede? The Hodor Hermit Crab? The Three-Eyed Raven-Gator? (Okay, they’re not all gems├óΓé¼┬ª)