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Be part of science: name a new species

G-Online

Nature

newly discovered shrimp

This newly discovered Australian shrimp is waiting for a name.

Credit: CSIRO

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The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) are giving the chance for someone to name a species of deep sea shrimp new to science.

The spotty-looking shrimp in the Lebbeus genus was found by PhD student Anna McCallum from the University of Melbourne. The creature lives about 400 metres below the sea surface and sports a toothy crest along the top of its body, and scarlet spots.

McCallum has decided to auction the naming rights for this new species.

Proceeds from the auction will go towards AMCS work to protect Australia's precious south-west oceans, home of blue whales, Australian Fur Seals, Southern Bluefin Tuna and the yet-to-be-named shrimp. Eighty per cent of the species known to inhabit the area are found no where else on Earth.

Guidelines in the naming of species

The scientific name of every species has two parts - the genus (which is capitalised) and the species name. For example, humans belong to genus Homo and their specific name is sapiens.

When a species is named after a person, the name is usually given a latin ending. It is possible to use either the first name or the surname of a person. The ending depends on the gender of the person being honoured. For males the ending is generally formed by adding an 'i', while for females the ending is formed by adding 'ae'. David becomes 'davidi', Graeme would be 'graemei', and Margaret would be 'margaretae'. So if the winning bidder chose to name the shrimp after their friend David, the shrimp would become Lebbeus davidi.

In the published scientific description of a new species, the origin of the name is usually described in a small section called the etymology. The full name of the person being honoured will be listed in the etymology for this species.

Please note that the shrimp can not be named after a commercial entity. Businesses are, however, welcome to take part in the online auction.

Names are subject to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature guidelines and the author's discretion. Please contact AMCS if you have any queries.