Local fundraiser offers once-in-a-lifetime chance to name a new species

The Biology Society of South Australia (BSSA) have launched an online auction for the naming rights of a newly discovered species of parasitoid wasp.

When you look closely at the leaves of a eucalypt, you may come across lerps – small sugary, protective covers for sap-sucking psyllid nymphs. Severe lerp infestations can cause loss of leaves and even death, especially when trees are already stressed. Luckily, gum trees have a natural protector: parasitoid wasps.These tiny, beautiful insects lay their eggs inside of the lerps, using the psyllids nymphs as their hosts unitl they reach maturity, leaving the psyllids for dead.In this way, parasitoid wasps, such as those in the genus Psyllaephagus, are natural pest controllers. They can prevent lerp outbreaks on Eucalypts and support healthy ecosystems. Despite this, the majority of Australian species are more or less unknown to science.

University of Adelaide researcher Alana McClelland has discovered new species’ of Psyllaephagus. Excitingly, McClelland has partnered with the BSSA to offer members of the public a chance to name one of these new species. The naming rights are being offered through a silent auction, and proceeds will go towards the BSSA’s field conservation grants, which support young South Australian researchers working in environmental conservation and field-based ecology.

The highest bidder will be given the opportunity to immortalise themselves in scientific literature. Just imagine coming across Psyllaephagus whateveryoucallit in a Eucalypt woodland and knowing that you named it!

“There aren’t many (probably any) times in your life that you will get to name a new species. So bid high and get creative!” – Alana McClelland.

The auction will begin on October 7th for one week. The winner will be announced at 9pm ACDT on the evening of the BSSA’s annual Quiz Night fundraiser.The fundraiser is supported by the Environment Institute, Bio·R and YouX.

If you would like to put in a bid, visit the silent online auction page here.

BSSA’s annual Quiz Night fundraiser details:

Friday, October 14th, 2022
Level 4, Eclipse Room, Union House,
University of Adelaide, North Terrace Campus 5005
Doors open 5:30 PM for a 6:00PM start

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