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ECU biologist, spider to appear on Colbert Report

GREENVILLE, NC   (July 31, 2008)   —   An East Carolina University biologist and a handful of his trapdoor spiders will travel to New York next week to appear on “The Colbert Report.”

Jason Bond, who studies and classifies new species of trapdoor spiders, will appear live on the late-night talk show Aug. 6 to present one of his newly discovered species to its host, Stephen Colbert.

Bond agreed in a phone interview with Colbert June 24 to name one of his 27 recently discovered species after the comedian and talk show host. Bond’s decision earlier this year to name a trapdoor spider after rock star Neil Young (Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi) had caught Colbert’s attention.

Colbert announced July 30 that Bond will appear on the show Aug. 6 to announce the name of the latest spider species. The program appears nightly at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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. Other spiders in Bond’s arsenal have been named after Nelson Mandela, Angelina Jolie, and Bond’s wife, Kristen.

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.

Bond received grants from the National Science Foundation to classify the trapdoor spider species and contribute to the foundation’s Tree of Life project. The findings of his discovery will appear in the August issue of the scientific journal Systematic Biology.

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


 


Contact: ECU News Bureau | 252-328-6481