Skip navigation

Name a new species competition

Posted by Rose Sep 16, 2009
The unnamed parasitic wasp is actually more elegant than its descriptive name suggests


To mark the opening of the new Darwin Centre, we have teamed up with the Times to offer people the chance to name a new species of parasitic wasp. The Ecuadorian wasp is 6cm long, ignoring the antennae (which is the way our scientists measure insect body length), and the specimens are in the Darwin Centre collections.

Find out more and how to enter the 'name the species of new wasp' competition online. The closing date for entries is 18 October 2009.


The genus name is not up for grabs as we know the wasp belongs to the genus Umanella (there was one previous species described from Costa Rica,  Umanella caerulea). Its just the species name that is available.

I don't think I can enter the compeition as it is not open to the staff at the Natural History Museum or the Times (wouldn't be fair to have any of our experts involved, I guess). But if I could, my suggestion would be... Umanella darwincentri.


Before you choose your species name, why not learn a bit about how our Museum experts go about naming species? For non-science bods, taxonomy is the scientific name for identifying and classifiying organisms. A lot of our Museum scientists spend time on taxonomic research.



Museum spider expert, Jan Beccaloni, hands over Sarah to a slightly cautious Prince William


We've had amazing national and international coverage of the Darwin Centre's royal opening in the press and media, with more Darwin Centre features to come over the next few weeks. It was Prince William’s encounter with a Mexican red-knee tarantula called Sarah, in the centre's new Attenborough Studio, which seemed most popular in the headlines.


Here are some of my favourites so far:


ITV 10 O’Clock News

BBC News Online

BBC News Online video

The Daily Telegraph

US Post Today

Life Magazine online


A beautiful butterfly dancer floats above the VIP guests during the celebrations

Some of us stayed in the office late on the royal opening night to get up-to-the-minute video footage of the royal celebrations and speeches on the website. And I put together a royal event highlights slideshow showing a few of the fantastic photos taken at the event.