Navigation Links
New grasshopper species named after Grammy winner

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.

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 then submitted their work to the journal after confirming three known small populations of the creatures.

There are about 9,700 known species of grasshoppers in the world. UCF houses many examples in its Bug Closet, which now also contains the Lila Downs friar grasshopper.

Locals called the creature the friar grasshopper because its head looks a bit like what a monk with his hood pulled back might look like. In Spanish "friale" means friar. That's why the full scientific name of the grasshopper is Liladownsia fraile.

For the UCF team, it was important to recognize Mexico in naming the species. Downs is known for her contributions to the music industry through her traditional fashion, which is primarily based on Mexico's indigenous communities, cultures and heritages. Her music has earned her a Grammy Award and two Latin Grammy Awards. She's active with various humanitarian causes especially those related to Latin America's indigenous communities. But most young music fans may recognize her because she was a featured artist on Carlos Santana's "Corazon" album with Gloria Estefan, Ziggy Marley, Wayne Shorter and others released earlier this year.

The team's journal article includes a paragraph giving Lila Downs kudos for her work.

"This taxon is dedicated to (Lila Downs) for a number of reasons, such as the fact that she was born in the vicinity of the type locality and because she incorporates several indigenous tongues from Mexico into her musical style, including Mixteco and Zapoteco (the latter of which is spoken in the type locality). Additionally, Lila Downs has not only promoted the vast cultural diversity of Mexico worldwide via her music, but also through the use of bright colors, a staple of Mexican culture, and considering that this new genus is brightly colored, we would like to recognize her efforts through the dedication of this new genus."

Mario-Prez said the discovery of the grasshopper is an important reminder to all of us to be mindful of the way we use our planet.

"We are in a era of biodiversity crisis," he said. "Every day species are disappearing, in some cases even before being discovered. This discovery is a reminder that new species are not only in the middle of the Amazon or in the deep forests of Africa but also next to the road in a more or less populated area."

To assist in supporting the conservation cause, this unique grasshopper species has been placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's new Red List of threatened species.


Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
University of Central Florida

Related biology news :

1. Grasshoppers are what they eat
2. Grasshopper mice are numb to the pain of the bark scorpion sting
3. Argentina yields 3 new tarantula species
4. Competition for ecological niches limits the formation of new species
5. A researcher from the University of Cádiz discovers 18 new species of molluscs
6. Australian marine reserves provide safe passageway for endangered species
7. Two new US turtle species described
8. New electric fish genus and species discovered in Brazils Rio Negro
9. Plants with dormant seeds give rise to more species
10. Two new species of yellow-shouldered bats endemic to the Neotropics
11. Researchers describe 4 new species of killer sponges from the deep sea
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New grasshopper species named after Grammy winner
(Date:10/29/2015)... 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) ... Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the ... and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has ... --> --> Synthetic biology ... potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , October 29, 2015 ... authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... announces that StackCommerce, a leading marketplace to discover ... the Wocket® smart wallet on StackSocial for this ... ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a biometric authentication company ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), ... Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® ... power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by ... --> --> Synaptics works ... strategic collaboration in the joint development of next generation ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of ... team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... microbial genomics company uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel ... launching an AngelList syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ) ... the following conference, and invited investors to participate via ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. Eastern ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December 1, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is ... of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: