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Slovak names new cockroach 'Lucka'

ONE OF thirteen fluorescent species of cockroach, Blaberidae, which live in South America, has been baptised with an unusal name, Lucihormetica luckae. The name is derived from the name of the daughter of Peter Vršanský, who discovered the species. His daughter is called Lucka.

Lucka the roach.Lucka the roach. (Source: SME)

ONE OF thirteen fluorescent species of cockroach, Blaberidae, which live in South America, has been baptised with an unusal name, Lucihormetica luckae. The name is derived from the name of the daughter of Peter Vršanský, who discovered the species. His daughter is called Lucka.

Vršanský discovered the new species towards the end of 2010 in Ecuador following the eruption of a volcano. In 2012, together with Dušan Chorvát and other colleagues from several institutes of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Vršanský described the discovery in the magazine Naturwissenschaften.

Recently, their discovery was cited as one of the top ten biological discoveries of 2012, as chosen from among 18,000 new species of plants, animals and microbes, the Sme daily wrote at the end of May. The International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE), a research institute of Arizona State University that charts such discoveries annually, seeks to remind people why it is necessary to protect our planet and its diversity.

The institute points out that there are hundreds of thousands of species on earth that are yet to be identified, but warns that many of them may not make it to the end of this century. This includes not only “Lucka’s cockroach”, but also other discoveries from the chart, such as the Sibon noalamina snake threatened by the construction of new mine in a rainforest in Panama.

Out of 18,000 newly discovered species, 140 were nominated for the next round, and then the ten most crucial discoveries were singled out, without determining a precise order.

Other discoveries besides the Ecuadorian fluorescent cockroach included a predatory mushroom living on the seabed, a tiny frog and an Old World guenon monkey.

“It is the most watched (biological) chart of the year and it is noticed all over the world,” Vršanský told Sme.

The list includes plants as well as animals. Many items on the list are endemic – meaning they are found in only one environment and nowhere else on earth.

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