Researchers in the NDSU systematics entomology laboratory have identified a new insect, and they’ve named it after a retired University Distinguished Professor.
Entomology doctoral student Eduardo Faundez and research assistant Mariom Carvajal, a freshman majoring in microbiology, recently discovered the insect in the collection of Allan Ashworth, NDSU Distinguished Professor-Emeritus of geology.
According to Faundez, the discovery came as the researchers were working on projects about insects of their homeland of Chile, in particular the damsel bug. They visited Ashworth’s lab to investigate his insect collection, which he compiled during scientific trips to southern Chile years ago.
“We found a really strange one that resembles some Australian species,” Faundez explained. “After some research, we realized that it was a new species and we decided to describe it in our research paper. We decided to name the new species after Dr. Ashworth in recognition to his excellent collecting work; and to thank him for making his collection available for our study so selflessly.”
The new damsel bug was named “Nabis ashworthi” in Ashworth’s honor.
Ashworth said the insect was among his collections from a paleoclimate project funded by the National Science Foundation. “I have long felt the collections would be valuable in the future as the insects’ habitats more often than not have been destroyed or disturbed by forest clearance for agriculture or by logging,” he said. “I’m delighted Eduardo and Mariom are finding the insect collections valuable for their studies. And, of course, I’m very flattered to have my name associated with this particular bug.”
There are more than 500 species of damsel bugs, which are soft-bodied, winged insects that are yellow to tan in color. They are seen as helpful insects for agriculture because they prey on many crop pests.
The research paper by Faundez and Carvajal, titled “Contribution to the knowledgment of the Nabis punctipennis Blanchard, 1852 complex (Hemiptera: Heteroptera: Nabidae) in Chile,” was published in the Annals of the Institute of Patagonia.
NDSU is recognized as one of the nation’s top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.