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By Hillary Creedon
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  • Department of Entomology
  • Entomology

A new ant species collected in New Mexico has been named Strumigenys moreauviae, after CALS faculty member Corrie Moreau, the Martha N. and John C. Moser Professor Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity and director of the Cornell University Insect Collection.

The species was named after Moreau by Douglas B. Booher, postdoctoral associate in the Biodiversity and Global Change Center in the Jetz Lab at Yale University and expert on the Strumigenys ant genus, after he identified biological differences in the collected ant, resulting in a 'discovery' and the need to officially name and describe the new species. 

Booher and Moreau have been friends science they first met at the California Academy of Science Ant Course in 2001. Moreau served on Booher’s dissertation committee while he pursued his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. In 2018, Booher worked alongside Moreau at the Field Museum in Chicago while completing his National Science Foundation Biological Collections Postdoctoral Fellowship.

The ant

Strumigenys moreauviae

Etymology

“Named after distinguished scientist and myrmecologist Dr. Corrie S. Moreau for her significant contributions as an evolutionary biologist. I met Dr. Moreau as a student at the first Ant Course in 2001 and was infected, as many other myrmecologists have been, by her viral enthusiasm of the ant world and unapologetic inclusiveness. The name was created by adding the singular Latin genitive case suffix -ae to the last name of a female person, this ending preceded by the infix -vi- inserted for ease of pronunciation. The orthography of an eponym is an unchangeable genitive noun and does not depend on the generic name in which the epithet is used,” explains Booher in his article, “The Ant Genus Strumigenys Smith, 1860 (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Western North American North of New Mexico,” published Nov. 4 in Zootaxa. 

The namesake

About Corrie Moreau

Corrie Moreau has spent her career working in natural history collections – as an undergraduate and master’s student at San Francisco State University, a doctoral student at Harvard University, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, in her previous faculty position as director of the Integrative Research Center at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and most recently, her position as head curator and director of the CUIC, responsible for its overall administration, development and enhancement. Her own research unites genomic DNA and microbiology to get a richer picture of how ants have been so evolutionarily and ecologically successful.

Corrie’s lab is an extension of herself, a collection of excellent scientists with diverse personalities and many backgrounds. Her lab always felt kind and supportive, a great environment. Corrie has supported the diversity of humans in her lab and in her life, and that is something I wanted to honor when naming an ant after her. She has always come across to me as a genuine force of change for diversity inclusion; she does this elegantly and functionally, mentoring and producing excellent and prepared young scientists in her lab.
Doug Booher
Many students appear on the screen for a Zoom seminar.
A species within the Corrieopone nouragues ant genus

200,000

Species to-date in the CUIC

The Strumigenys moreauviae holotype is now a permanent addition to the CUIC alongside these other insect species.

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