Scientist Names a Terrifying New Species of African Wasp After Tuukka Rask

Dan Carson@@DrCarson73Trending Lead WriterFebruary 24, 2015

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The coolest thing about science is that it never ends.

Every day, people around the world wake up and go to work discovering novel things about our world. We're still finding new species! That's cool! Even cooler (or more ridiculous), however, is the fact that some of these creatures are named after famous people who had absolutely nothing to do with their discovery.

Enter Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was recently told the news that a researcher in Africa has given his name to a new species of insect.

The Boston Globe's Carolyn Y. Johnson (h/t CBS Sports' Chris Peters) reports that Robert S. Copeland, an entomologist in Nairobi, Kenya, with New England roots, is using Rask's namesake to label a wasp recently discovered in the nation's Teita Hills.

Copeland has christened the species Thaumatodryinus tuukkaraski, writing in a to-be-published paper that the name is an ode to the Bruins goalie.

"This species is named after the acrobatic goaltender for the Finnish National ice hockey team and the Boston Bruins, whose glove hand is as tenacious as the raptorial fore tarsus of this dryinid species," Copeland wrote.

It should be noted that there's more to the process than rabid Boston fanship nakedly swaying global entomology. Johnson reports that the expedition that led to scientists finding the wasp was funded by the government of Finland—Rask's native country. 

Furthermore, the wasp is black and...kind of yellow? Also, it is a terrifying nightmare:

Hockey Night in Canada @hockeynight

The ultimate honour: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has wasp named after him http://t.co/KTYdwtzcFT http://t.co/jBBFfutwme

If that picture doesn't do it for you, here's Johnson's write-up of the tuukkaraski life-cycle:

"T. tuukkaraski is an 'ectoparasitoid,' a type of wasp that feeds off other insects," Johnson writes. "The female lays eggs on the larvae of the host bug species. When those eggs hatch, the wasp larvae cuts into the host and feeds off of it."

This is science-speak for, "The wasp births baby monsters that feed on other babies." 

Rask seems tickled to be named after such a creature. He told Johnson that he's appreciative of the honor.

"That's funny. That's pretty neat," Rask said. "We're the B's...it's flattering, I guess."

"Flattering" is one word for it. After all, Rask is now immortal. Long after he sloughs off this mortal husk, colonies of tuukkaraski wasps and their offspring will continue to live, zipping around the sky and feasting on the embryonic baby-nectar of other insects.

At least no one will ever say he was named after a pedestrian creature.

Dan is on Twitter, praying for the baby insects.


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