Scientists pay tribute to Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer with new species named after them

The insects are parasitoid wasps 6 mm long with black, white, and orange colour patterns, and were found in major Thai national parks.

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will go down in history as two of the greatest tennis players of our time, but their names have also been immortalized in science, as two new insect species were just named in honor of the athletes.

A team of insect scientists from the Integrative Insect Ecology Research Unit in Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University described two new wasp species named Troporhogas rogerfedereri and Troporhogas rafaelnadali in a tribute to the two tennis legends.

A specimen of Troporhogas rafaelnadali.
Troporhogas rafaelnadali. Photo by Marisa Loncle

T. rogerfedereri and T. rafaelnadali are parasitoid wasps, whose larvae devour their hosts from the inside,” says Buntika Areekul Butcher, who led the study to describe the new insects. “As their names proclaim, they honour the tennis greats Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal, who although competitors on the court have been on the same doubles team too. Also, two of the authors are huge fans of both Roger and Rafa.”

Troporhogas rogerfedereri. Photo by Marisa Loncle

Both of the new wasps are 6 mm long, with black, white and orange colour patterns. They were found in two major Thai national parks, Khao Yai and Khao Sok, both of which are popular attractions for natural history tourists.

The scientists published their discoveries in a research article in the open-access zoology journal ZooKeys.

Research article:

Quicke DLJ, Ranjith AP, Loncle MK, Van Achterberg C, Long KD, Butcher BA (2024) Revision of Troporhogas Cameron (Hymenoptera, Braconidae, Rogadinae) with six new species from India and Thailand. ZooKeys 1206: 99-136.