Love inspires new species name

June 19, 2018, University of Queensland
Credit: University of Queensland

Love is in the air at The University of Queensland with entomologist Dr Errol Hassan naming a new species of wasp after his wife to celebrate more than 50 years of marriage.

Dr Hassan from UQ's School of Agriculture and Food Sciences, has officially named the wasp Uga ursulahassane, in honour of his wife, Ursula Hassan.

"I gave her the printed copy of the published paper on her recent birthday and asked her to read it," he said.

"I hadn't told anyone that I was going to name it after her. When she read my paper she was so excited to see her name."

Errol and Ursula married in Bremen, Germany in 1966, after meeting at a weekend dance in a mountain town in central Germany.

Errol had just finished his doctorate and Ursula was an accounting student on holiday.

Dr Hassan's career has taken him around the world, from Germany to Turkey and finally to UQ.

It was while on a trip to the Mojave Desert in California in 1984 that Errol discovered the wasp, but its name was only signed off this month.

"It's a beautiful little thing, and it is such a fitting way to pay tribute to someone who deserves to be remembered - for time immemorial," he said.

Dr Hassan, an adjunct Associate Professor, joined UQ in 1973.

The couple have lived at Gatton since 1974 and have three daughters and four granddaughters.

"We've now got three generations of scientists in the family," Dr Hassan said.

"Two of my daughters are in the USA working at universities there, and my third daughter in Townsville works as a science, chemistry and maths teacher."

The species has been described in Munis Entomology and Zoology.

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More information: A new species of Uga Girault (Hymenoptera: Chalcididae: Halticellinae) from Mojave Desert, California, USA. www.munisentzool.org/?page=abstract&jid=31&id=1186

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