Having A New Species of Insect Named After Her Doesn’t Bug Justice Ginsberg

There was probably time in her life when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg thought if she did a commendable job at being a judge that she might just have a law library or other building named after her. Never in her wildest dreams though could she have imagined she would have the dubious honor of having a species of insect named after her.

So, who discovered this new species of insect? It turns out it was a group of scientists that were working on behalf of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. They had been scouring the countryside for new finds in Madagascar which has long been known to be a hot bed for the discovery of new animal and insect species. The team stumbled across a few praying mantises that seemed different from the known ones to them. Using a relatively new technique involving a test based on examining details of the female genitalia of the species, the scientists confirmed that this was indeed a new species. (One of the team members must have been carrying a very powerful magnifying glass with them.)

The species ended up being named the “Ilomantis ginsburgae” in honor of Justice Ginsberg. A representative of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History stated that the honor was given to her because she had become known as a champion for gender equality. The 83 year old justice has become an icon for the role she has played in that area.

The affable justice took it in stride when she was informed of the honor. She referenced and joked that the victim in the 1915 novella “Metamorphosis” had also turned into a big, black bug. "...But a praying mantis is ever so much more attractive", she recalled.