HKBioBlitz Media Coverage: Hong Kong Real “Ant-Man” Not Even Scared by Ant Bites (Apple Daily 8 Nov 2015)

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Last month saw Hong Kong’s first BioBlitz in which different wildlife experts and 300 secondary students worked together in Tai Tam for 30 hours to discover local biodiversity and record 578 species. Students got to know the creatures surrounding them from wildlife experts.

“Ant-Man” Dr. Benoit Guénard, Assistant Professor at the Hong Kong University School of Biological Sciences, who has focused on ant research for 13 years, was one of the experts in this event. He explained this 30-hour BioBlitz is a brief scientific research for the public to know more about the environment through conducting biological surveys. During his school guided tours in this event, Dr. Benoit introduced different ant species and their interesting characteristics to secondary students such as the nest building process of Weaver ants.

Weaver ants occur in forest trees. They make ball-shaped nests by making chains of their own bodies to bridge leaves and interweaving the gaps with the silk of the larvae. When they are scared, they spray formic acid from their abdomen to attack the enemy. Our reporter was also attacked by Weaver ants during Dr. Benoit’s demonstration and felt their sting!

Apart from ants, the biodiversity of Tai Tam Tuk is high. Tai Tam Tuk is listed as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by Hong Kong Government in 1975 and is one of the earliest SSSIs. HK BioBlitz co-founder Jenna Ho Marris said Tai Tam Tuk is only 30-minute travel time from the city but is also where you can find the last mangrove on Hong Kong Island. She hoped the findings can encourage the public to know more about Hong Kong’s rich urban biodiversity.

The first BioBlitz was held in the United States in 1996. There are now more than 13 countries organizing this event. National Geographic sponsers this event every year in the US. Preliminary results for the first BioBlitz in Hong Kong recorded 578 species including 32 bird species, 19 fish species, 170 plant species and 106 moth species.

Hong Kong BioBlitz is part of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department’s first ever Biodiversity Festival ending with the Hong Kong Biodiversity Carnival on 15 November 2015 in Kowloon Park to promote biodiversity, come and join this fun day out!

Please find the link to Apple Daily Article and Video「本港真蟻俠 俾蟻咬無有怕」 here: http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20151108/19364837

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