Is Amy Tan actually ‘thrilled’ a leech is named after her? | Science News

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Is Amy Tan actually ‘thrilled’ a leech is named after her?

Novelist answers one of biology’s persistent questions

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6:30am, March 4, 2016
CT scans of leech

THRILLING ANATOMY  Micro CT scans from different angles show that the innards of the leech newly named for Amy Tan devotes a lot of space to eating (false color gray, digestive tissue) and reproducing (red and various blues show male organs; pink denotes female organs). 

View 3-D reconstruction of leech

At last Science News is able — thanks to novelist Amy Tan — to illuminate a question nagging readers (and often writers) of stories about new species named in honor of celebrities. When someone names a slime-mold beetle or a leech after you and you say you’re honored — really?

Tan (whose novels include The Joy Luck Club and The Valley of Amazement) swiftly supplied a vivid answer to our question about whether “thrilled” was the word to describe her feelings about a January Zoologica Scripta paper naming a small, blood-sucking leech in her honor.

She felt a connection with that particular leech, she writes in an e-mail. Before she knew it would bear her name, she had happened upon the blog written about 10 years ago by researchers

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