Eponymous: named after a person or place

Their names testify to their place of origin, the person who first collected them or a person whose contribution the authors feel should be commemorated

By Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster (Dinochelus ausubeli) (2007-06-02) by Tin-Yam ChanLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster
Dinochelus ausubeli Ahyong, Chan & Bouchet, 2010

This species of deep-water lobster was first collected off the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The lobster is unique for its remarkable claws. Scientists would use DNA and morphology data to determine that it is different enough to qualify for its own genus. “Dinochelus” is derived from “dinos” meaning terrible or fearful and “chela” meaning claw.

Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster (Dinochelus ausubeli) (2007-06-02) by Tin-Yam ChanLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Its species name is in honour of Jesse Ausubel from the Sloan Foundation who initiated and led the landmark multi-year Census of Marine Life to survey global marine biodiversity. This species was named on the tenth year of the Census in Ausubel’s honour. It is not found outside of ASEAN. Within ASEAN, it is only known from the Philippines (off Luzon Island) thus far.

Rote Myzomela (Myzomela irianawidodoae) by Philippe VerebelenLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Rote Myzomela
Myzomela irianawidodoae Prawiradilaga, Baveja, Suparno, Ashari, Ng, Gwee, Verbelen & Rheindt, 2017

The Rote Myzomela was first thought to be new in 1990 but confirming this proved to be difficult. It was often identified as the Sumba Myzomela from the nearby island of Sumba. Almost two decades later, ornithologists were able to get calls of the populations from both Rote and Sumba Islands, finding them to be very different.

Rote Myzomela (Myzomela irianawidodoae)
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Further bioacoustics analysis by researchers in Singapore have found that vocalisations are diagnostic for each species.

Rote Myzomela (Myzomela irianawidodoae) (2014-03-30) by Philippe VerebelenLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The Rote Myzomela is named after the first lady of Indonesia, Iriana Joko Widodo for her keen interest in Indonesia’s birdlife and for her advocacy of Indonesia’s natural environments. It is not found outside of ASEAN. Within ASEAN, it is only found in Indonesia (and is endemic to Rote Island).

Birma River Prawn (Macrobrachium birmanicum) by Win MarLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Birma River Prawn
Macrobrachium birmanicum Schenkel, 1902

This species of freshwater prawn was first described in 1902 from the specimens collected near the cities of Bhamo and Mandalay in Myanmar. It was given its species from the name based on the old name for Myanmar. In scientific convention, once a species is validly given a name, this name (and its spelling) does not change except in exceptional circumstances as mandated by the ‘International Code of Zoological Nomenclature’. Even if the name of a country changes! This is important to ensure there is stability in names over time. Outside of ASEAN, this species is known from Bangladesh and the state of Orissa in India. Within ASEAN, it is only found in Myanmar.

Siamese Rock Gecko (2017-11-03) by Somsak PanhaLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Siamese Rock Gecko
Cnemaspis siamensis (Smith, 1925)

This species was found for the first time in Pathio District, Chumphon Province, southern Thailand. It was named after the old name for Thailand, or “Siam”.

The Siamese Rock Gecko appears to be endemic to Thailand. It is found in both lowland forests as well as in the mountainous regions of the Tenasserim and Phuket Mountains.

Pen-tailed Tree Shrew (Ptilocercus lowii) by Biodiversity Heritage LibraryLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Pen-tailed Tree Shrew
Ptilocercus lowii Gray, 1848

This species of treeshrew was described by famed British zoologist John Edward Gray over 160 years ago. He named this species after Hugh Low who was a British colonial administrator and naturalist in Borneo. Mount Kinabalu’s highest peak, Low’s Peak, is also named after him. In 2008, scientists reported that the nectar in the flowers of the Bertam Palm appeared to be fermenting and confirmed that alcohol concentrations could reach up to 3.8%. The same scientists then noted that this nectar was attracting many mammal pollinators. Additional research found that some Pen-tailed Tree Shrews were consuming the same amount of alcohol as a female human drinking nine glasses of wine in a 12 hour period. Most remarkable of all, the Pen-tailed Tree Shrews did not appear to suffer any adverse effects. How these animals stay sober defies scientific knowledge. It is not found outside of ASEAN. Within ASEAN, it is found in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Alycaeus jousseaumei (2016-07-22) by Siong Kiat TanLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Alycaeus jousseaumei de Morgan, 1885

This species of snail was first described from Perak in Peninsular Malaysia by French malacologist Jean-Jacques de Morgan. It is believed that he named it after fellow malacologist Félix Pierre Jousseaume.

Alycaeus jousseaumei (2016-07-22) by Siong Kiat TanLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

It is the largest species of the genus and is restricted to the limestone karsts in the Kinta Valley of Perak. Scientists have only recently discovered that a series of microtunnels allow the snail to respire through the depression at the lower centre portion of the shell (known as the umbilicus) even when its operculum is tightly shut to keep out predators. Certainly an amazingly innovative design!

Alycaeus jousseaumei (2016-07-22) by Siong Kiat TanLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

This species is not found outside of ASEAN. Within ASEAN, it is only found in Peninsular Malaysia (and endemic to Perak).

Kelian Freshwater Prawn (Macrobrachium kelianense) (2009-04-21) by Renny K. HadiatyLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Kelian Freshwater Prawn
Macrobrachium kelianense Wowor & Short, 2007

Another freshwater prawn—and another named after its place of origin by Indonesian and Australian scientists. It was first found in the Kelian River in East Kalimantan, Indonesia in 1995. It has since been found in the Mahakam River basin in East Kalimantan. In 2005, mining activities along the Kelian River were halted which will hopefully ensure the long term survival of this species. It is not found outside of ASEAN. Within ASEAN, it is only found in Indonesia (Mahakam River basin).

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii) (2014-12-05) by Kama Jaya ShagirLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher
Muscicapa sodhii Harris, Rasmussen, Yong, Prawiradilaga, Putra, Round & Rheindt, 2014

The Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher was known to be a new species for 15 years but was only described in 2014. The Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher closely-resembles the Gray-streaked Flycatcher which is also found in Sulawesi. Ornithologists grew suspicious when they observed a bird that looked like a Gray-streaked Flycatcher in summer when it would normally be away on its annual migration.

An analysis of the bird’s plumage, morphology, vocalisation and DNA would prove it to be new. It is named after a famous National University of Singapore professor, the late Navjot Sodhi (1962–2011), to recognise his many contributions to conservation biology and ornithology in Southeast Asia. It is not found outside of ASEAN. Distribution in ASEAN: Indonesia (endemic to Sulawesi).

Mouhot’s Elephant Snail by Somsak PanhaLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Mouhot’s Elephant Snail
Pollicaria mouhoti (Pfeiffer, 1862)

When this species of elephant snail was first named after the French explorer, Henri Mouhout, the first specimens were said to originate from Cambodia. To date, this species has not been found in Cambodia and it is likely that the provenance of the original material was incorrect.

Mouhot’s Elephant Snail by Somsak PanhaLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The shell of this species is black to purple in colour, with a yellow to bright orange tip (apex). It also has an orange to red opening (aperture). This species is only known from Thailand and Laos from the Luang Phrabang and Petchaboon Ranges. It appears to be restricted to limestone karst areas.

Rote Myzomela (Myzomela irianawidodoae) by Philippe VerebelenLee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

The names of these species are like pages of a history book. They remind us of the places and people that have played a role in their discovery. They reinforce the fact that each generation of scientists stands on the shoulders of their predecessors.

Credits: Story

Text:

Alycaeus jousseaumei
Siong Kiat Tan
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster
Jose Christopher E. Mendoza
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Birma River Prawn
Win Mar
(University of Mandalay, Myanmar)

Kelian Freshwater Prawn
Daisy Wowor
(Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia)

Mouhot’s Elephant Snail
Siamese Rock Gecko
Somsak Panha
(Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)

Pen-tailed Tree Shrew
Marcus A. H. Chua
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Rote Myzomela
Pratibha Baveja
Frank E. Rheindt
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher
Frank E. Rheindt
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)


Images:

Alycaeus jousseaumei
Siong Kiat Tan
(National University of Singapore, Singapore)

Ausubel’s Mighty Claws Lobster
Tin-Yam Chan
(National Taiwan Ocean University, Taiwan)

Birma River Prawn
Win Mar
(University of Mandalay, Myanmar)

Kelian Freshwater Prawn
Renny K. Hadiaty
(Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Indonesia)

Mouhot’s Elephant Snail
Siamese Rock Gecko
Somsak Panha
(Chulalongkorn University, Thailand)

Pen-tailed Tree Shrew
Biodiversity Heritage Library
(http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/)

Rote Myzomela
Philippe Verebelen
(Belgium)

Sulawesi Streaked Flycatcher
Kama Jaya Shagir
(Indonesia)


Audio:

Rote Myzomela
Philippe Verebelen
(Belgium)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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