A new animal species named after internationally acclaimed writer Andrzej Stasiuk – The First News
A new species of animal is named after one of Poland’s most internationally acclaimed writers.
Literature-loving biology boffins from Łódź decided to name the crustacean Gammarus Stasiuki after writer Andrzej Stasiuk after finding it in the Lower Beskids mountain range in Poland, which is also the homeland by the award-winning writer.
Dr. Tomasz Mamos, Prof. Michał Grabowski and Prof. Krzysztof Jażdżewski from the Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Hydrobiology at the University of Łódź together with Slovak colleagues recently published their discovery in the journal Scientific Reports.
Addressing Stasiuk in a letter, the scientists wrote: “Having been faithful readers of your books and columns for years, sharing your worldview and your love for Eastern Europe of which you so vividly describe life and landscapes, we, three biologists […]would like your name to be commemorated not only in the culture but also in the nature of this region.
“The crustacean […] lives in the streams of the Eastern Carpathians in Poland, Ukraine, Romania and also in the Lower Beskids, where you live.
“We discovered it, described it scientifically in the attached publication, illustrated it and gave it the name Gammarus Stasiuki.”
Stasiuk’s wife, Monika Sznajderman, welcomed the news on social media, saying: “Such a beautiful and joyful end of year thing has happened.
“It’s touching and surprising to still be so close to discovering unknown existences. The alliance between science and culture is also beautiful.
The tiny crustacean lives by crushing and transforming the dead leaves of trees, allowing the matter they contain to recharge the circle of life.
The discovery of the new species, described as a ‘glacial survivor’, was made while the team was conducting research in the Carpathians, ‘one of the main biodiversity hotspots in Europe’ on the species gammarus balcanicus .
The team established that the emergence of gammarus stasiuki dates back to the late Miocene/early Pliocene, around 5 million years ago.
Its distribution is limited to several places in the Eastern Carpathians. In addition to a few localities in Poland, the species has been found in northern Romania.
Andrzej Stasiuk is one of the most celebrated and internationally recognized contemporary Polish authors, best known for his travel literature and essays describing Eastern Europe and its relationship to the West.
It has close ties with the Lower Beskids region. After deserting the army and spending a year and a half in prison, he moved there in 1986 to take care of a friend’s sheep, llamas and donkeys.
He settled in the small village of Czarne near the Slovak border, where he founded a hippie-Buddhist commune, after which he left for the USA for 9 years.
Stasiuk is known for his impressionistic style and atmospheric depictions of southeastern provincial Poland and Eastern Europe.
He is the author of over 15 books of fiction, essays and travel articles, including Fado, Nine, Tales of Galicia, The White Raven, On the Road to Babadag and Dukla.
Irvine Welsh in The New York Times described him as “an accomplished stylist with an eye for revealing detail that brings characters and situations to life”.