Graeme Queen works as an IT solutions professional in Portland, Oregon. Outside of work, Graeme Queen enjoys watching television and cites HBO’s Game of Thrones as one of his favorite shows. The same could probably be said for a group of researchers who recently discovered two new species of ants and decided to name them after characters in the show.
The recently discovered ants, Pheidole drogon and Pheidole viserion, get their names from Drogon and Viserion, two of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons from HBO’s Game of Thrones. Native to New Guinea, both ants feature large heads and spiked backs, reminding researchers of the show’s dragons.
The researchers published their findings in the journal PLOS One, describing their use of a portable CT scanner to generate digital images of the ants. In the past, researchers had to wait until they returned to a museum to identify potentially new ants they find on expeditions. With this new method, however, they can scan the ants and digitally compare them to known species, making the process much more efficient.
Pheidole drogon and Pheidole viserion are not the first animals to be gifted with a Game of Thrones name. In 2013, scientists in Brazil named a newly discovered sea slug Tritonia khaleesi, after the show’s Mother of Dragons herself.