Navigation Links
New catfish species named for museum mail supervisor

PHILADELPHIA He's not well known like President Bush and musician Neil Young, but Philadelphian Frank Gallagher now has something in common with them: He has a new species named after him.

Gallagher was The Academy of Natural Sciences' affable mailroom supervisor for 37 years before retiring in 2003. "They used to call me 'the grapevine,'" said Gallagher, because he not only distributed the mail to the staff but also passed along the latest gossip. Now he is the inspiration for Rhinodoras gallagheri, a new species of catfish described by Academy fish scientist Dr. Mark Sabaj Prez in the March issue of Copeia.

New species often are named for prominent scientists, generous benefactors or even spouses. A biologist recently named a new trapdoor spider after popular singer-songwriter Neil Young. A few years ago an entomologist named a new slime-mold beetle after the president. Rarely, if ever, has a new species been named for a postman.

"I wanted to honor Frank for his many years of dedicated service to the global community of taxonomists and systematists in handling the shipping and receiving of countless loans of biological specimens," said Sabaj Prez, who manages the Academy's collection of 1.3 million fish. "I was impressed by Frank's dedication, his love for fellow employees, and his keen interest in the science we do. I simply thought, here is a guy who should be honored with his own catfish."

The Academy's Ichthyology Collection is one of the oldest of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, with 2,800 primary types. (A type is an original specimen from which the description of a new species is made.) The collection is an invaluable reference to researchers around the world who contact Sabaj Prez for access to specimens and data.

Rhinodoras gallagheri, commonly known the Orinoco thicklip catfish, occurs in the Orinoco basin in Venezuela and Colombia. It is a secretive fish that hides during the day in hollow logs or the deep, dark channels of large rivers. At night it sometimes can be found in swift-flowing rapids, foraging the bottom for aquatic insects.

Sabaj Prez discovered two specimens of this fish in the Academy's collection a few years ago and recognized them as distinct from other species in the same genus, Rhinodoras. The specimens had been collected in 1989 by former Academy scientists and their Venezuelan colleagues. Sabaj Prez secured more specimens from Venezuela and proved that the species was distinct.

Since retiring from the Academy, Gallagher has enjoyed tending to his garden in Southwest Philadelphia, his 40-gallon fish tank, some turtles and a dog. Of the honor of being enshrined with a thicklip catfish, Gallagher simply said, "I thought it was nice of him."

Before handing in the mailbag, Gallagher used to say to staff, "I've been here so long, I should be part of the collection by now." In the naming of Rhinodoras gallagheri, he now is.


Contact: Carolyn Belardo
The Academy of Natural Sciences

Related biology news :

1. New continent and species discovered in Atlantic study
2. Emphasis on conifer forests places multiple species at risk
3. One species entire genome discovered inside anothers
4. How the plant immune system can drive the formation of new species
5. Student study bolsters case for adding a rare sunflower to the endangered species list
6. Ecologist finds dire devastation of snake species following floods of 93, 95
7. Smithsonian scientists help lead effort to barcode worlds species
8. Species still have more viable offspring if they can choose their best mate
9. Smithsonian identifies invasive crab species in Panama Canal expansion area
10. Smithsonian identifies invasive crab species in Panama Canal expansion area
11. New dinosaur species found in Montana
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New catfish species named for museum mail supervisor
(Date:11/18/2015)... PHILADELPHIA , Nov. 18, 2015  As new ... in children, doctors and other healthcare providers face challenges ... counsel families and patients. In addition, as more children ... into a patient,s adulthood and old age. ... The Children,s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) . ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... EASTON, Mass. , Nov. 17, 2015 ... a leader in the development and sale of broadly ... the worldwide life sciences industry, today announced it has ... of its $5 million Private Placement (the "Offering"), increasing ... to $4,025,000.  One or more additional closings are expected ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an innovative ... clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will be ... (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... view live demonstrations of iMedNet , MedNet,s ... iMedNet has been able to deliver time and ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... Md. , Nov. 25, 2015  PharmAthene, Inc. ... Directors has adopted a stockholder rights plan (Rights Plan) ... net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) under Section 382 of ... --> PharmAthene,s use of its NOLs ... "ownership change" as defined in Section 382 of the ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:  AEZS; TSX: ... prospects remain fundamentally strong and highlights the following ... received DSMB recommendation to continue the ZoptEC Phase ... the final interim efficacy and safety data ... men with heavily pretreated castration- and Taxane-resistant prostate ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the third-largest ... market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost locations ... higher volume share for the region in the ... margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market earned ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is also toxic ... (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic study of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: