Insect dedicated to love
New species named after beloved wife
ERROL Hassan married the love of his life, Ursula, more than 50 years ago.
Now he has immortalised his wife by naming a new species of wasp he discovered after her.
The University of Queensland entomologist, who has lived in Gatton with his family since 1974, collected the parasitic wasp in California’s Mojave Desert in 1984 but forgot about it for decades.
“Of course I didn’t know they were a new species,” he said.
The small, metalliclooking, blackish-green wasp with copper colours on the fur sat in a vial of alcohol and glycerine oil on a shelf in Dr Hassan’s lab until late last year when he stumbled across it during a clean-up.
“I sent an email to one of the specialists that I know on wasps and sent in the whole vial, and two or three weeks later they sent me an email saying this is a new species,” Dr Hassan said.
“And I thought to make a surprise to my wife because I already have three insects named after me.
“It’s a beautiful little thing and it is such a fitting way to pay tribute to someone who deserves to be remembered for time immemorial.”
The discovery and naming of Uga ursulahassane was published in the scientific journal Munis Entomology and Zoology this month, coinciding with
Mrs Hassan’s birthday.
The couple married in Bremen, Germany, in 1966 after meeting at a weekend dance in a mountain town.
Dr Hassan had just finished his doctorate and Mrs Hassan was an accounting student on holiday.
After 52 years of marriage, and with three daughters and four granddaughters, Dr Hassan said his wife’s love and support had been incredibly important to him.
“Like any marriage you have ups and downs through time, but if you have a true love you overcome those problems,” he said.
“So it is for me a great honour to name this insect for my wife, because once we pass away that insect will live forever.
“That is why I wanted to immortalise our being together and living so long together.”
— Tessa Mapstone
It’s a beautiful little thing and it is such a fitting way to pay tribute to someone who deserves to be remembered.
— Errol Hassan
IMMORTALISED: Errol Hassan has named a new species of wasp (inset) after his wife, Ursula Hassan.