“If you had the chance to name a poisonous species, would you name it after your wife?” Micaela Jemison asks at www.smithsonianscience.org.
That’s what Marcos Ponce of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute did: When his team discovered a bright-orange, big-eyed poison dart frog in Donoso, Panama, Ponce named the previously unknown species Andinobates geminisae, in honor of his supportive wife, Geminis Vargas.
A. geminisae is one of five species discovered by Smithsonian scientists that Jemison mentions on the blog. The others:
● A tiny mite with a ferociously ugly, dragonlike visage, Osperalycus tenerphagus was discovered in Ohio by entomologist Samuel Bolton. It appears to be an all female-species: The bug lays eggs that don’t need to be fertilized, and no males have yet been found.
● Ricardo Moratelli, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Museum of Natural History, discovered a bat with stunningly bright-gold fur, Myotis midastactus, in Bolivia. That’s just one of half a dozen new bat species he has identified.
● Gustavo Ballen, from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, discovered Farlowella yarigui in streams of the Magdalena River basin, west of the Andes in Colombia. It’s a five-inch-long stick catfish, so called because its thin body looks like a stick.
● A fly that has evolved to look like a bumblebee to avoid predators also acts like a bee — Sericomyia khamensis pollinates flowers, specifically the yellow poppy of southern China. That’s where it was discovered by Christian Thompson of the National Museum of Natural History.