On Mother’s Day, many men pick up flowers or make breakfast in bed for their partners to show their appreciation for everything moms do. If you’re a taxonomist, you can go a step further and give the eternal gift of patronymy (or perhaps matronymy?) by naming a new species after the mother of your offspring!
In a recent Zootaxa paper, that’s exactly what Heron Huerta did, naming a new species of Mexican Scatopsidae Colobostema marielae, and earning extra brownie points in the etymology:
This new species is named after my wife, Mariela Trujillo De la Cruz, for her unconditional support, love and enthusiasm for my projects.
- Huerta, 2013
Scatopsidae are commonly referred to as minute black scavenger flies (or even less romantically, dung midges), and with larval habitats ranging from the decaying to the defecated, having something like this named for you may seem less like an honour and more like a thinly veiled insult. But when you consider your fly is 1 of only ~250 species known, that your fly’s relatives are found literally around the world and have been helping keep us out of the rot since the time of T. rex, and that, while not as flashy or well known as other organisms, someone has devoted their life to learning all there is to know about your fly and has decided that you are so important you should be forever immortalized as the namesake for this unique being, well, that’s a pretty powerful gift.
Happy Mother’s Day.
Nominate this species for New Species of the Year!
HUERTA H. (2013). New species of the genus Colobostema Enderlein (Diptera: Scatopsidae) from Mexico, Zootaxa, 3619 (2) DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3619.2.6