Novelist answers one of biology’s persistent questions
M. Tessler et al/Zoologica Scripta 2016
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