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B. Schurian, MfN

Wasp Given Harry Potter Name

To generate involvement and emotional ties between people and biodiversity, a museum in Berlin asked visitors to vote on the scientific name of a newly discovered wasp. Of the four options, visitors selected Ampulex dementor, which refers to the fictional beings in the Harry Potter series known as dementors that can consume a person’s soul and leave them in a vegetative state. The name alludes to how the wasp can leave a roach limp after paralyzing it with a sting. According to a paper published this week in PLOS ONE, museum visitors expressed a high interest in naming the wasp, suggesting that opportunities for public participation in discovery can ignite appreciation for science.

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