What A Month!
I intended to publish the first post on my recently-refreshed website much sooner than today. The delay is due to being caught up in a surge of media interest over a Harry Potter themed species description that formed part of my masters research.
It all started back in August when my first ever scientific article was published in New Zealand Entomologist…
I was lucky enough to have the honor of describing and naming a native species of parasitoid wasp new to New Zealand. This species was recognized as new by the late Ian D. Gauld during his time in New Zealand. Ian remains a highly respected entomologist whose passion and meticulous work ethic has inspired many of the hymenopterists working today. My masters supervisor, Dr Darren Ward from Landcare Research, trained me in the methods of species description and assisted me greatly during the process.
The genus name for this species was already known to be ‘Lusius’ from Ian’s previosu work. I decided to name the species after the character Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter series. The main reason was to parallel the way in which Lucius Malfoy, and wasps in general, are both considered to be villains. However, just as Lucius Malfoy is pardoned near the end of the Harry Potter series, I wanted people to pardon wasps in their own minds too. This is because wasps are so misunderstood! The vast majority of wasp species are either neutral or beneficial from a human perspective. Only a few species are pests that sting people and cause dread. In fact, none of New Zealand’s native wasps are like this at all, only a handful of introduced species spoil their reputation here.
In order to get the word out I contacted Anne Beston from the University of Auckland Media Relations team. She poured her time and energies into helping me craft the perfect media release. She then sent this to Jamie Morton, the science reporter at the NZ Herald. He wrote a fantastic story around the release, combining extra detail with the flair of an accomplished storyteller. His story was so well written that it piqued the interest of The Guardian, who interviewed me over the phone and ran the first international story on my fight for wasp-acceptance. From there the story exploded – It was picked up by news agencies in the United States, Latin America, Asia, and Europe.
The most surreal moment: Speaking to CNN on the phone while answering emails from India!
CNN (USA) | Wasp named after Harry Potter villain Lucius Malfoy
BBC (UK) | Why this wasp has been named after Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter
The Guardian (UK) | Lusius malfoyi wasp: New Zealand insect named after Harry Potter villain
The Telegraph (UK) | New Zealand wasp named after Harry Potter character Lucius Malfoy
Daily Mail (UK) | Lusius malfoyi wasp named after Harry Potter villain
Jornal O Globo (Brazil) | Vespa parasitoide da Nova Zelândia é classificada como ‘Lusius malfoyi’
La Vanguardia (Spain) | Una avispa con nombre del malvado de la serie Harry Potter
Times of India (India) | Biologist names wasp after Harry Potter character
Hindustan Times (India) | Lucius Malfoy gets sting: Wasp named after Harry Potter character
News.com.au (Australia) | Kiwi wasp named after Harry Potter villain
Mashable (USA) | Wasp named after Lucius Malfoy just needs your love
Elite Daily (USA) | A Wasp Was Named After A ‘Harry Potter’ Villain, & It’s So Fitting
Sveriges Radio (Sweden) | Geting får namn efter en Harry Potter-karaktär
Girlfriend (Australia) | Wasp Named After Lucius Malfoy
Teen Vogue (USA) | “Harry Potter” Character Lucius Malfoy Inspires Name of New Wasp Species
Inverse (USA) | Wasp Biologist Makes Compelling Scientific Case For Lucius Malfoy
L’Express (France) | Une gentille guêpe baptisée “Malfoy”, comme le méchant sorcier dans Harry Potter
El Periodico (Spain) | ‘Lusius malfoyi’, la avispa recién descubierta en Nueva Zelanda
Il Gazzettino (Italy) | Ecco la vespa “Lucius Malfoy”, scienziato battezza insetto come il cattivo di Harry Potter
IFLS (USA) | Much-Maligned Wasp Named After Supposedly “Redeemed” Harry Potter Villain
NZ Herald | ‘Good’ native wasp gets Harry Potter moniker
TVNZ | Newly discovered NZ native wasp named after Harry Potter character
Stuff.co.nz | A sting in the tale: Auckland researcher names wasp after Harry Potter villain
Newshub | New Zealand wasp named after Harry Potter villain
ABC Tiple J Radio | Drive (Wednesday 18 October)
ABC Melbourne | Breakfast with Red Symons (Thursday 12 October)