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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Check out that Jabot: Praying Mantis Named After Ruth Bader Ginsburg


     "For the first time, scientists have used the genitals of female praying mantises to formally distinguish one species from another. And using this novel technique, they've identified a previously unknown creature: Ilomantis ginsburgae





     The new mantis is named in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, for her efforts toward achieving gender equality and her love of the jabot – otherwise known as 'that neck thingy.'"




     "The researchers behind the new species say that its neck plate resembles Ginsburg's favorite neckwear, but bear in mind that scientists have compared the golden butt hairs of a fly to Beyoncé's rear end and the mouth of a fossilized ancient swamp pig to Mick Jagger's luscious lips. Point being: If you want to honor your favorite celebrity by naming a new species after them (which, by the way, is totally allowed, scientifically speaking) you can probably come up with some physical "similarity" between the two to strengthen your case and keep your co-authors from arguing with you. Ergo, jabot."



     "Ilomantis ginsburgae isn't particularly noteworthy, in the realm of praying mantises. The species was identified using a specimen collected in 1967 in Madagascar. Like other leaf-dwelling praying mantises, the species is green, with a flattened body, conical eyes and broad wings that look like veiny leaves."




      "But its identification was a little more special – because the researchers relied on its genitals."

       “As a feminist biologist, I often questioned why female specimens weren’t used to diagnose most species," Sydney Brannoch, a Case Western Reserve University PhD candidate, said in a statement. Along with Gavin Svenson, who oversees her research at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Brannoch recently published research on this technique in Insect Systematics & Evolution. They studied 30 female specimens from different museum collections, noting distinguishing genital characteristics and using them to distinguish species, then compared the results of their technique to more traditional methods."



     "This research establishes the validity of using female specimens in the classification of praying mantises. It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations," Brannoch added."

     "This adds to the working toolkit that researchers can use to identify the insects, which will allow them to more accurately distinguish one species from another. And it makes it easier for species to be identified and categorized into families based on female insects alone."

What would you name a new insect you just discovered?
Steph

20 comments:

  1. Okay, I'll get the obvious one out of the way:

    Ilomantis bojaxhiuae.

    LegoNotesThatManyNunsHaveBoltedFromTheMotherChurchAndEndedUpInSects!

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  2. No idea what I would name an insect, but I definitely am tickled by this post and will link to it from my blog.

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    1. Yay! I got a comment to publish using my blog name. I couldn't get that work for the longest time...

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    2. Strange. Glad it is working now, Joanne. And thanks!

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    1. Plus, Paul, it is supposed to be 114 degrees F there this weekend!

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  4. Seems that Notorious RBG is fine with coming back as a insect. "Gregor Samsa woke up one morning to find himself changed into a big black bug. Praying mantis, female too, is ever so much more attractive."

    She was also OK with John Oliver portraying her as a distinguished Chihuahua.

    The resemblance to the mantis' jabot went right past me. But those eyes!

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    1. Notorious RBG has a good sense of humour. I'd not seen the Chihuahua skit.

      The praying mantis eyes definitely have NRBG look to them!

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  5. Glad to see the research was done at a private university. I'm not sure RBG would approve of a mantis praying in a public school.

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    1. Indeed. Farewell, too, to lifetime union employment contracts, I guess.

      I have used a Linotype machine to set hot type (just a demo). I learned to set cold type in 7th grade shop class. My father was a printer. For a while, we had a small offset press in the basement. My father would read a newspaper with a loupe, checking halftone dot separation. Growing up, "pack the blankets" had nothing to do with preparing for a camping trip, and everything to do with impression rollers.

      When my brother, who had no technical training whatever, moved to Israel, the publisher of the Jerusalem Post asked him (through my father) to stop by. He showed my brother around the plant, and asked him to look over a copy of that day's paper. My color-blind, one-eyed brother squinted at the paper and announced, "you need to pack the blankets."

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    2. Great story, jan!"Pack the blankets!" is new to me.

      Have been decluttering this week for a party here this evening. Thanks to predictive text, a friend wrote back and hoped I would have good "deck uttering!" That's been making me smile all day. . .

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  7. I thought this story might be of interest to a formerly Connecticut geologist. Who knew you had to watch out for which quarry your contractor used for his aggregate? Looks like this was also an issue recently in the Trois-Rivières area of Quebec. Any clever way to treat pyrrhotite after it's incorporated into concrete to prevent the oxidation?

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  8. Interesting, jan. I don't know of an easy way to treat the pyrrhotite once it's in the concrete. I do know it's generally much more reactive than pyrite.

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    1. Only thing to worry about with pyrite is nearsighted prospectors digging up your foundation?

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    2. Suffering fools gladly, of course.

      Buffering fools too?

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  9. New post on "Finishing Blows: Not Muhammad Ali's but Antarctica's Larsen B Ice Shelf" is now up.

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