Date: December 14, 2017
Source: Louisiana State University
LSU describes a distinctive new species of antbird from humid montane forest of the Cordillera Azul, Martin Region, Peru.
It was July 10, 2016 when Dan Lane, Fernando Angulo, Jesse Fagan, and I rolled into the coffee-growing town of Flor de Café in north-central Peru. This town lies in the Cordillera Azul -- a picturesque series of outlying Andean ridges hardly explored by ornithologists. In fact, the first ornithological inventory in the region was only in 1996, when a team of researchers from the Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science (LSUMNS), bushwhacked into the extremely remote eastern Cordillera Azul. It was on this expedition that Dan, then a beginning graduate student at LSU, discovered the distinctive Scarlet-banded Barbet (Capito wallacei) on "Peak 1538." Now, twenty years later, we were back to see this iconic species, which graces the cover of the Birds of Peru field guide.
Flor de Café, in the somewhat more accessible western Cordillera Azul, has become the hub for barbet-chasers since LSUMNS associates Todd Mark and Walter Vargas confirmed its presence here in 2011. Thus, we were not surprised to run into another bird watcher, Josh Beck, as we moved our gear into the single guest house in town. Within moments of meeting, Josh began telling us of a strange, ground-walking antbird he had encountered the previous day and documented with a sound recording. We quickly realized that his bird was a species new to science.
New Bird Species Named for E.O. Wilson, “Father of Biodiversity” and Rainforest Trust Board Member
Dec 12, 2017
The world-renowned biologist Dr. E.O. Wilson received the honor of having a new species of antbird named after him in recognition of his lifetime contribution to scientific discovery and conservation. Dr. Wilson is a myrmecologist, an entomologist who studies ants, and is known as the “father of biodiversity” for being the first scientist to publish the term in 1988. The new antbird species named after him, Myrmoderus eowilsoni, will be described in the scientific journal The Auk this week.
“The idea of [having] a bird named after you is right up there with maybe the Nobel [Prize], because it’s such a rarity to have a true new species discovered, and I do take it as a great personal honor,” said Dr. Wilson.
Myrmoderus eowilsoni was discovered in northern Peru by Josh Beck during a 2016 birding expedition. As the main author of the description co-written by a team of scientists, Beck decided to name the new antbird species in honor of Dr. Wilson after discussing the possibility with Rainforest Trust President and distinguished ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgely.
“As Dr. Wilson and I were discussing the possibility of his joining Rainforest Trust’s Board of Directors, it occurred to me that he didn’t have anything other than several ant species named after him,” said Dr. Ridgely. “This for a pre-eminent scientist so highly regarded for his insights on biodiversity! Josh and I agreed this was the perfect, and long overdue, opportunity to name a vertebrate species after him. Even better, it was an antbird!”