Doña Luz Estella Valencia and Don Roberto Flórez, a married couple, until recently like any other in Colombia, never imagined that their names would be immortalized with the existence of a new species for science. His son, a researcher at the CES University of Medellín, discovered two new insects for the scientific world, which he “baptized” in homage to their parents.
Camilo Flórez Valencia, Master in Biological Sciences from CES University and curator of the Biological Collections of the institution (CBUCES), for six years has named insects of the membracid family in Colombia, a group of species that feed on the sap of plants and whose forms, some similar to thorns, are very common.
For this young biologist by profession, membracids are not only the living beings he studies, but they remind him of the close relationship he has with his parents Estella and Roberto, for which he decided to name the new specimens: Calloconophora estellae and Problematode robertoi.
“ Calloconophora estellae , dedicated to my mother, has an impressive maternal care behavior: the mother deposits a waxy secretion around the stems near her children. On the other hand, Robertoi problem , dedicated to my father, we found near the Arboloco farm, in Manizales, which my father bought a few years ago and has been a place where the whole family has worked in a process of restoration of the forest ”, commented Flórez Valencia.
But how is a new species named? A new specimen is given a nickname, in terms of science, when it is described in a scientific article and for obvious reasons it has not been nominated before. In this case, the record was recorded in an article published in the journal Zootaxa. In addition, the records are stored on an online platform called ZooBank. This also requires the collection of specimens that can be kept intact for centuries in biological collections.
"The job of describing a new species involves differentiating it from the rest of known species, making a photographic record of the different structures that allow it to be described as unique and, in addition to this, it requires that there be collected specimens that remain in biological collections to support the identity of that name. These specimens deposited in the biological collections are those that support the name of the species ”, detailed the Master in Biological Sciences CES.
Calloconophora estellae has so far been recorded in the municipality of Remedios, in the Magdalena Medio region in Antioquia and in the foothills of the Western Cordillera towards Chocó near the PNN Tatamá. For its part, the Robertoi problem is known from a single specimen collected near Finca Arboloco, in forests relatively close to the Los Nevados NPN in Villamaría in the department of Caldas.
Although Dona Estella and Don Roberto still find it difficult to pronounce the names of the genera with which their son identified them, they are happy to understand that, through the new species, they represent part of Colombia's biodiversity.