Aposphragisma brunomanseri goblin spider. Courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Berne
Swiss researchers have honored the memory of a missing indigenous peoples activist by naming an undescribed species of spider after him, reports the Bruno Manser Fund, the group he founded.
Bruno Manser, an environmentalist who campaigned on behalf of the nomadic Penan people and the rainforests of Malaysia Borneo, went missing in 2000 after years of conflict with authorities in the state of Sarawak. He would have turned sixty on Monday.
Bruno Manser in Sarawak in 1999. Picture BMF.
To honor his efforts to conserve the fast-disappearing forests in Sarawak, a team of scientists decided to name an undescribed species of goblin spider Aposphragisma brunomanseri after Manser. The spider was discovered in Sarawak’s Pulong Tau National Park near where Manser went missing.
“The species epithet is dedicated to Bruno Manser (*1954, missing, presumed dead), a Swiss environmental activist and ethnologist, most famous for his support of the nomadic Penan people against the destruction of the pristine rain forest in the Malaysian state of Sarawak,” said Marco Thoma, a zoologist at the Natural History Museum of Berne, Switzerland, who was the lead author of the paper describing the spider.
Mountain rainforests in the Gunung Murud region, where Ansonia vidua was discovered. Courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Berne.
The Natural History Museum of Berne also used the occasion to announce a new species of amphibian, the Murud black slender toad (Ansonia vidua) from the area.
Ansonia vidua toad. Courtesy of the Natural History Museum of Berne