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May Berenbaum Receives New Species of Cockroach Named After Her

Earlier this year, a PhD student named Dominic Evangelista wrote a blog post for Entomology Today where he described a new species of cockroach he had discovered, and offered to name it after the person who donated the most money to his future research efforts.

The highest bidder turned out to be none other than Dr. May Berenbaum, the 2015 Vice President of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and recent winner of the National Medal of Science.

During Entomology 2014, ESA’s annual meeting in Portland, OR, Dominic presented Dr. Berenbaum with specimens of the new cockroach, which he named Xestoblatta berenbaumae. Volunteer videographer Derek Woller interviewed them both and captured the historic moment, which you can see in the following video:

“I’m so pleased! Look at this, my first matronym,” Dr. Berenbaum said. “This is very cool … there’s no greater honor, and no better form of immortality in science.”

When asked how she learned about the opportunity to have the cockroach named after her, she said it was through Entomology Today.

“I read its biology, and I said ‘What an incredibly good illustration of how little we know,'” she said. “A quarter of the specimens collected were undescribed species!”

The full description of the new cockroach species will be published soon in the journal ZooKeys.

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