Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tech's New Spiderman is a Tarantula

Virginia Tech entomologist just got a leg up on nearly everybody else on earth. He has had a tarantula named after him.

Paul Marek is the namesake for the relatively non-threatening and docile "Aphonopelma mareki, a black dwarf tarantula related to the better known, considerably larger, and more hairy species of tarantulas," according to a press release from Tech.

Marek calls these tarantulas "the puppies of the spider world.” The press release says the tarantula named for Marek "is part of a 55 species-naming extravaganza that took his colleague Brent Hendrixson of Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, 16 years to fully catalogue." The collection was recently published.

Paul Marek of Virginia Tech
Says Hendrixson,“My coauthors and I wanted to recognize Paul not only for discovering the first adult males of this new species, but also for his myriad achievements.

"He is an exceptional evolutionary biologist, educator, mentor, and advocate for biodiversity research. He is also a great friend and a lot of fun in the field.”

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