Friday, May 8, 2009

Species named after Stephen Colbert

A second species has been named after political satirist and talk show host Stephen Colbert. Just weeks after NASA named the treadmill - to be installed on the International Space Station - the Combined Operational Load-Bearing External Resistance Treadmill, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller of the University of New Mexico announced that a Venezuelan diving beetle will be dubbed Agaporomorphus colberti. In July 2008, Jason Bond, associate professor of biology at East Carolina University offered to name one of 27 new species of trapdoor spider Aptostichus stephencolberti. Colbert had insisted on the honor after learning it had been bestowed on Neil Young: “Where’s my spider?” he asked. "The world demands an eight-legged tribute to Stephen Colbert and I do not mean another barbershop quartet.” When Bond agreed on the air, Colbert prompted, “So tell me about my spider....Does it shoot poison darts? Does it lay eggs in your ears?” Professor Bond has received numerous requests to name spiders after people, but hopes that the public will find more interest in the plight of spiders around the world, than the interesting names he gives them.

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