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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 22;9(4):e95068. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0095068. eCollection 2014.

The soul-sucking wasp by popular acclaim--museum visitor participation in biodiversity discovery and taxonomy.

Author information

1
Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz-Institut für Evolutions- und Biodiversitätsforschung, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

Taxonomy, the science of describing and naming of the living world, is recognized as an important and relevant field in modern biological science. While there is wide agreement on the importance of a complete inventory of all organisms on Earth, the public is partly unaware of the amount of known and unknown biodiversity. Out of the enormous number of undescribed (but already recognized) species in natural history museum collections, we selected an attractive example of a wasp, which was presented to museum visitors at a special museum event. We asked 300 visitors to vote on a name for the new species and out of four preselected options, Ampulex dementor Ohl n. sp. was selected. The name, derived from the 'soul sucking' dementors from the popular Harry Potter books is an allusion to the wasps' behavior to selectively paralyze its cockroach prey. In this example, public voting on a scientific name has been shown to be an appropriate way to link museum visitors emotionally to biodiversity and its discovery.

PMID:
24755672
PMCID:
PMC3995701
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0095068
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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