CHALLENGE: Pledge the most money and win the naming rights to a new species of cockroach!

Lab Note #4
Mar 17, 2014

CONTEST NO LONGER ACTIVE as of April 13, 2014

You can immortalize your loved ones by naming a star after them. You can commemorate a respected person for the rest of time by naming a crater on Mars after them.

But what about your enemies? What about your boss? What about your ex? Your childhood bully? The person who stole your shot at that promotion? The guy who got the girl you were in love with? How can you set their name in the sulfurous, mud caked stone that they deserve?

Here is your chance. We have discovered a new species of cockroach (see image below) and we want someone to name it.

A scientific name of an animal has two parts: the genus name, and a specific epithet. For example the American Black Bear's name is Ursus americanus where "Ursus" is the genus name and "americanus" is the specific epithet.

You're getting the chance to give this species a specific epithet, but it already has a genus name. It's Xestoblatta. What does that mean? The entomologist that named the genus didn't give a justification for why he chose that name for this group. We can only speculate that maybe he thought this group had a little more oomph than the others he was familiar with.

If you're going to name this little roach you should know more about it. It's a native to northern Guyana. It lives mostly in rain forests with lots of leaf litter. It spends most of its time on the forest floor and it loves to drink beer (no joke). At night they climb up vegetation in the forest floor to mate with each other. During sex, the males offer a nutritional gift for the female to eat (unconfirmed for this species but known for closely related species). The gift is extruded between the segments on the insect's back. Delicious.

Does the name have to conform to any rules? Well, yes, but only a few. The name cannot be obscene or offensive. The name cannot be an arbitrary collection of letters that do not form a word (e.g. fuderal is ok but udfrlae is not) and the word cannot be excessively long. It can only contain letters in the english alphabet and no punctuation marks. Finally, the name cannot be identical to a name that already exists.

Other than that the limit is your imagination (or your petulance).

The reward will be given to the person with the highest donation but only if the project is be successfully funded ($4000 goal met before the project end date).

So, make your pledges fast and make your pledges big!

Other contest rules:

  • In the event of a tie, the winner will be chosen by random drawing of the tied participants.
  • Multiple donations by the same contributor will be considered as one cumulative donation. However, the donations must be made with the same name and payment information.
  • If the winner relinquishes their prize, the next highest donor will receive it.
  • The grand prize does not carry with it rights to species description authorship or other rights not mentioned here.

Click here to see more pictures of this species and learn more about it

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