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How taxonomy can get you into primetime

June 20, 2011

How taxonomy can get you into primetime

Pink tarantula, named after Panamanian musician Ruben Blades, rocks!

STRI visiting scientist Ray Gabriel from Oxford University and colleagues described a new tarantula, Ami bladesi, found by him in Bocas del Toro for the first time in 2003. The article, headed by Fernando Pérez- Miles, of the University of Uruguay, was published by Zootaxa in 2008. The generic name, Ami, is a Tupi Indian word that means “a spider that does not spin a web,” and the species name, bladesi, is for Ruben Blades, Panamanian musician and former tourism minister.

The news was received by the Panamanian media with enthusiasm and humor as evidenced by recent web and printed pieces such as “Ahora Rubén Blades es una tarántula” [Now Ruben Blades is a tarantula], or “Tarántula con salsita” [Tarantula ŕ la “salsa”].TVN, Channel 13, RCM and RPC Television broadcast images of the tarantula along with Blades in concert several times during primetime viewing. Could there possible be a new song in the making? Maybe!

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