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
|Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala|
University of Central Florida