Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in Entomology Today, a project of the Entomological Society of America with the goal of reporting interesting discoveries in the world of insect science and news from various entomological societies. To learn more, visit www.entomologytoday.org.
Recently two new Chilean species of stink bugs were discovered and named after Drogon and Viserion, dragons of the TV series “Game of Thrones,” based on A Song of Ice and Fire by G.R.R. Martin.
My colleagues — Mariom Carvajal at the Instituto de la Patagonia, University of Magallanes, and David Rider, Ph.D., at North Dakota State University — and I named these two species because some ornaments of their coloration resemble dragons seen on the TV series. Neoacledra drogon has large dark purple wings and reddish ornaments, whereas Neoacledra viserion has some creamy, ivory-colored patches on its body.
The description of these two new species recently was published in the journal Arquivos Entomolóxicos, and both species inhabit the rainforest in southern Chile.
For us, time to time, it is fun to choose some creative names for the species we describe. In this case, it also may help us to get our “Game of Thrones” fix while we are waiting two long years for the new and final season of this series. In addition, as these species are rare and mostly unknown, giving them notable names can increase awareness and help people get to know a little bit more of our still undiscovered biodiversity.
We believe this effort is going in the right direction, as the species have caught widespread media attention. Subsequently, more people now know that these stink bug species are native to Chile and that they are not agricultural pests like the painted bug or the brown marmorated stink bug, which are currently a big problem in Chile. In this way, it also may help to protect their conservation status, as we hope people will not apply pest control products if they see a few specimens of these little dragons. As of now, N. drogon and N. viserion seem to be quite scarce and possibly restricted to small areas.
Eduardo I. Faúndez, Ph.D., is an entomologist at the Instituto de la Patagonia, University of Magallanes, in Punta Arenas, Chile. His major research areas are systematics of the Heteroptera and medical zoology.