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ECU spider-naming goes 'late night'

GREENVILLE, NC   (June 25, 2008)   —   A new species of trapdoor spider discovered by an East Carolina University biologist will be named after late night talk show host Stephen Colbert.

Jason Bond, an ECU professor of biology, agreed to name the spider in honor of Colbert during the June 24 airing of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

Colbert told Bond he wants to evaluate the 27 un-named spider species Bond has discovered in the past 10 years and to choose one that will be the best fit.

Earlier this year, Bond had discovered and named another species of trapdoor spider after rock star Neil Young (Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi).

In 2007, Bond discovered the new species in coastal California and co-wrote a paper with Norman I. Platnick, curator at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, on the genus. The spider named after Young was found in Alabama.

Bond received a number of grants from the National Science Foundation in 2005 and 2006 to classify the trapdoor spider species and contribute to the foundation’s Tree of Life project. He is both a spider systematist – someone who studies organisms and how they are classified – and taxonomist – someone who classifies new species.

Spiders in the trapdoor genus are distinguished on the basis of differences in genitalia, Bond said, from one species to the next. He confirmed through the spider’s DNA that each species of spider is distinct within the trapdoor genus.

For more information about Bond’s naming of trapdoor spiders, contact bondja@ecu.edu.

 


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481