A newly discovered grasshopper by University of Central Florida scientists now bears the name of Grammy-award winning singer and activist Ana Lila Downs Sanchez.
The scientists named the new species discovered on the side of a mountain road near Oaxaca, Mexico, after the Mexican-American singer as a nod to her efforts to preserve indigenous culture and penchant for wearing colorful, local costumes as part of her performances.
"It was primarily Paolo's idea to name the grasshopper after the singer" said Derek Woller, one of the authors of the paper referring to colleague Paolo Fontana. "He's a big fan of Lila Downs (her stage name). The grasshopper is so beautiful, so vibrant and colorful. When he told us all about her, her work, her colorful clothes, and that she was born in the region where we found the specimens, we thought, yeah, that's great, let's do it."
The grasshopper measures about an inch long on average and resembles a fiery rainbow with blue, red, yellow, orange and black markings. The first pictures of the new species make their debut in an article in this month's Zootaxa journal. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2014/f/zt03793p495.pdf
Woller, Fontana, Ricardo Mario-Prez and Hojun Song are the authors of the paper. Woller is a Ph.D. candidate and Mario-Prez is a Ph.D. student in Biology Professor Song's lab while Fontana is a researcher at the Edmund Mach Foundation in Pergine Valsugana, Italy.
The men were doing fieldwork for another grasshopper study in a pine-oak forest of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountain Range in Oaxaca, Mexico, when they came across their discovery in 2011.
"We were surprised that a grasshopper of that size and found next to the road wasn't discovered before," Mario-Prez said.
The team did some research, returned again in 2013 to see if they could find more grasshoppers and
|Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala|
University of Central Florida