Celebrity Taxa

A New Species of Antbird, named for E O Wilson

A New Species of Antbird, named for E O Wilson

Birds, Celebrity Taxa, New Species December 16, 2017 at 12:06 pm

A new species of antbird, discovered in 2016 in Northern Peru, has been named for E.O. Wilson in recognition of his lifetime contribution to scientific discovery and conservation.  Known from just one mountain ridge, the species is threatened by clearance of forest for sun-coffee farming.

Large wolf spider from Madagascar named for the albino direwolf Ghost, from the Game of Thrones

Large wolf spider from Madagascar named for the albino direwolf Ghost, from the Game of Thrones

Arachnids, Celebrity Taxa, New Species November 30, 2017 at 10:34 am

A large white species of wolf spider, Ocyale ghost Jocque M. & Jocqué R. sp. nov. is described from a white sandy beach of an inland freshwater lake in the northwest of Madagascar. The first photos of a living specimen of the genus Ocyale are provided together with some observations on the biology of the newly described species. Wolf Spiders, Lycosidae, are large, active Spiders that do not build webs, ambushing animals that passes close to their burrows or actively seeking out and chasing down prey. They have large prominent eyes, and a habit of carrying their eggs in a sack on their abdomens.

Fun with taxa: stories behind some funny and odd names for species discovered in Colombia

Fun with taxa: stories behind some funny and odd names for species discovered in Colombia

Celebrity Taxa November 30, 2017 at 10:13 am

Many species are discovered every year in this mega-diverse country, and scientists are resorting to more fun and recognisable names when classifying them, such as the Puya loca (Crazy Pineapple) and Allobates niputidea (no fucking idea Frog).    

26 new species of miniature frogs from Madagascar.  Two are delightfully obscene.

26 new species of miniature frogs from Madagascar. Two are delightfully obscene.

Amphibians, Celebrity Taxa, New Species November 27, 2017 at 9:45 am

26 new species of Stumpffia, a genus of small narrow-mouthed frogs endemic to Madagascar, have been described in a single research paper.  The monograph contains a complete revision of the existing 14 species of Stumpffia.   Some of the Stumpffia are are among the smallest frogs in the world; Stumpffia contumelia, measures only 8-9 mm. Due to their extreme miniaturization many species show an extraordinary reduction of their fingers and toes. In some cases only a long middle finger is retained, reminding an insulting gesture — resulting in the delightfully named Stumpffia obscoena.  One of the frogs is named in honor of  Sir David Attenborough.  ThisRead More

Three species of sea slugs identified, one named for Barack Obama

Three species of sea slugs identified, one named for Barack Obama

Celebrity Taxa, Invertebrates, New Species November 20, 2017 at 10:47 am

A team of researchers led by California State University’s Professor Patrick Krug has discovered three cryptic new species of sea slugs.  The three new species were previously considered to be the same as a species known as Placida cremoniana from the Mediterranean.  One of them is named after former U.S. President Barack Obama, to honor his dramatic expansion of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii, as well as his administration’s commitment to fighting global climate change.  The two other species are named to honor diver-photographers.  Photographic records and literature reports suggest that additional species may occur in the Indian Ocean, tropical Australia, andRead More

Auctioned naming rights to new plant will support further research

Auctioned naming rights to new plant will support further research

Celebrity Taxa, New Species, Plants November 1, 2017 at 9:56 am

A yellow, flowering plant, called biscuit-root, commonly found in a Military Reserve in the Boise Foothills will be named after former Idaho governor Cecil Andrus.  A $10,000 donation from Andrus’ friends helped secure the naming rights, and will memorialize the governor where he could often be seen walking his dogs.  An Idaho congressional bill has been introduced to rename the area to the Cecil D. Andrus-White Clouds Wilderness.  The $10,000 dollars raised will go toward further research of the plant and others like it found in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon.  The plant was identified as a new species throughRead More

A new butterflyfish, named for Donald Rumsfeld’s notion of an “unknown unknown”

A new butterflyfish, named for Donald Rumsfeld’s notion of an “unknown unknown”

Celebrity Taxa, Species Discovery October 18, 2017 at 12:52 pm

A new butterflyfish is described from deep reefs in the Philippines.  Researchers for the California Academy of Sciences realized only muc later that the had a specimen of the same species in a jar, undiscovered, for years. The genus, Roa, with four described species, has as many undescribed species.  The authors name the new fish to honor Donald Rumsfeld and his famous quote as it relates to the challenge in taxonomy in identifying new species.  Referring to the uncertainties of war, Rumsfeld states “there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns;Read More

A new wolf spider named for Hagrid’s Aragog, from Harry Potter

A new wolf spider named for Hagrid’s Aragog, from Harry Potter

Arachnids, Celebrity Taxa, New Species July 18, 2017 at 9:48 am

A new species of wolf spider found in southeastern Iran has been officially named after Aragog, the enormous, sentient arachnid character in the Harry Potter books and movies.

A new frog on the dark side of the moon

A new frog on the dark side of the moon

Amphibians, Celebrity Taxa, New Species May 10, 2017 at 8:15 am

Brachycephalus is a frog genus endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Forest and characterized by the bright yellow-orange colors and small size.  The new species is characterized by the presence of black connective tissue covering all dorsal muscles and completely yellow-orange body.  Its name gives homage to the music of Pink Floyd.  See also another Brachycephalus  recently described.

Two new mole rats, one named Dr David Livingstone, I presume?

Two new mole rats, one named Dr David Livingstone, I presume?

Celebrity Taxa, Mammals, New Species May 8, 2017 at 3:08 pm

Two new species of African mole-rat have been discovered by researchers at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), together with colleagues in Tanzania and at the University of Pretoria. The new mole-rats were found around Mount Hanang and at Ujiji on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, both in Tanzania. Fukomys livingstoni is named after Dr. David Livingstone, as Ujiji (the type locality) is the site of the famous meeting on 10 November 1871 when Henry Morton Stanley found the explorer David Livingstone, who many thought to be dead, and uttered the famous words “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

New ‘silky’ ant species that grows its own gardens of fungus named for Radiohead

New ‘silky’ ant species that grows its own gardens of fungus named for Radiohead

Celebrity Taxa, Insects, New Species May 8, 2017 at 9:06 am

One of three new species of fungus-farming ants, Sericomyrmex radioheadi, collected in the Venezuelan Amazon, was named after the famous British music band Radiohead.  “We wanted to honor their music” one of the authors, Ana Ješovnik, says. “But more importantly, we wanted to acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate-change awareness.  Using a scanning electron microscope, the authors found that the body of the new fungus-farming ants are covered with a white, crystal-like layer. Both the chemical composition and the function of this layer are unclear, though it is suspected that the layer is microbial in originRead More

An armored catfish, named after a legendary monster that attacks fishermen

An armored catfish, named after a legendary monster that attacks fishermen

Celebrity Taxa, Fish, New Species April 24, 2017 at 10:58 am

A new species of Parotocinclus is described, endemic of the rio Parnaíba basin in northern Brazil.

A fish named Pancho Villa

A fish named Pancho Villa

Celebrity Taxa, Fish, New Species April 24, 2017 at 9:34 am

A new species of cichlid from the River Coatzacoalcos Basin, Mexico.

A new, noisy, neon colored shrimp: the Pink Floyd pistol shrimp

A new, noisy, neon colored shrimp: the Pink Floyd pistol shrimp

Celebrity Taxa, Crustaceans, New Species April 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm

A newly discovered pink shrimp that, by snapping its claw, can make a sound louder than a shotgun.  The new species is named Synalpheus pinkfloydi, after the British band Pink Floyd.  

A sunflower discovered high in the Colombian Andes, named in honor of president

A sunflower discovered high in the Colombian Andes, named in honor of president

Celebrity Taxa, New Species, Plants January 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm

A new plant species from about 11,000 ft up in the northern Andes of Northeastern Colombia has been named Espeletia praesidentis, in honor of efforts made by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to build peace in his country after over five decades of conflict.

A new crab genus discovered by a US marine-turned citizen scientist

A new crab genus discovered by a US marine-turned citizen scientist

Celebrity Taxa, Citizen Science, Crustaceans, New Species January 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm

A US marine-turned citizen scientist is honored with the discovery of a new genus of crab, found in Guam.  The tiny crab’s name also refers to the Harry Potter character Professor Severus Snape. Photo: Jose C. E. Mendoza; CC-BY 4.0

A tiny moth with a blonde comb over, named for President Donald J Trump

A tiny moth with a blonde comb over, named for President Donald J Trump

Celebrity Taxa, Insects, New Species January 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Vazrick Nazari, an entomologist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, discovered a species of twirler moth with bright yellow scales that sit like a cap atop the insect’s tiny head.   Dr. Nazari has dubbed the species Neopalpa donaldtrumpi.  The reason for this choice of name is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the US that still contain many undescribed species.

Newly Discovered Species Named for President Obama (updated 12-26-16)

Newly Discovered Species Named for President Obama (updated 12-26-16)

Celebrity Taxa, Fish, New Species December 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm

The species was discovered 300 feet deep, on June 5, 2016, during a research trip to Kure, the world’s northernmost atoll.  The species name and description was published Dec 2016. “It is the one fish known to live only within the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a pristine expanse of coral reefs and seamounts home to millions of seabirds, endangered turtles, endangered monk seals, and more than 7,000 species. So scientists thought it only fitting to name this fish after President Barack Obama, who dramatically expanded Papahānaumokuākea, creating the largest swath of protected land or water on Earth, an area roughly twice the size ofRead More

New found flower named for Jimi Hendrix

New found flower named for Jimi Hendrix

Celebrity Taxa, New Species, Plants December 16, 2016 at 12:35 am

The plant, named Dudleya hendrixii, is found only in a sliver of Baja California, Mexico, in an area called the Colonet Peninsula (Punta Colonet).  Author Mark Dodero and study co-author Stephen McCabe, a retired botanist formerly at the University of California, Santa Cruz, jointly decided to name the plant in Hendrix’s honor. The idea for the name took root after Dodero realized he was listening to Hendrix’s song “Voodoo Child” at the very moment he found the pinkish plant.

How Newly Discovered Species Get Their Weird Names

How Newly Discovered Species Get Their Weird Names

Celebrity Taxa, New Species, Species Discovery October 20, 2016 at 9:16 am

Whatever you do, don’t name your new species after yourself. That’s tacky.