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Meet Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Insect Doppelganger

Praying mantis species named after SC justice
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 2, 2016 10:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Ruth Bader Ginsburg: booze-swilling Supreme Court justice, part-time actress, and … new namesake of a praying mantis. Scientists from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History were examining 30 praying mantis specimens when they discovered that species—typically classified using a male specimen—could be differentiated simply by looking at female genitalia, according to a release, per the Washington Examiner. They then noticed that one specimen, collected from Madagascar in 1967, was actually a unique species bearing a resemblance to 83-year-old Ginsburg. As scientists explain, the so-named llomantis ginsburgae has a neck plate that brings to mind the jabot, or frilly collar, often found around the justice's neck.

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Since the researchers were the first "to use female genital structures to delimit a new species of praying mantis," and Ginsburg has devoted much of her life to gender equality, it only made sense to name the insect in her honor. "As a feminist biologist, I often questioned why female specimens weren't used to diagnose most species," the lead researcher says. "It is my hope that our work not only sets a precedent in taxonomy but also underscores the need for scientists to investigate and equally consider both sexes in other scientific investigations." The llomantis ginsburgae species—kept in a Paris museum—is described in the journal Insect Systematics & Evolution. (Does this frog species look oddly familiar?)

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