by Maheesha Mudugamuwa
The National Institute of Fundamental Studies (NIFS) scientists have named three new Sri Lankan tiny goblin spiders of the genus Brignolia species in honour of prominent Sri Lanka authors.
NIFS Science Education and Dissemination Unit Communication and Media Officer Pradeep Piyathilake told The Island yesterday that the study authored by NIFS scientist Prof. Suresh P. Benjamin and his graduate student Sasanka Ranasinghe was a result of a country-wide survey and careful study of newly collected material and the species kept in various museums.
Accordingly, the first species, Brignolia carlmulleri is named in honour of the Sri Lankan writer, poet and journalist Carl Muller best known for his trilogy, The Jam Fruit Tree, Yakada Yaka and Once Upon A Tender Time.
The second species, Brignolia ondaatjei named in honour of Sri Lankan-born Canadian novelist and poet, Philip Michael Ondaatje best known for the novel The English Patient.
The third species, Brignolia shyami is named in honour Shyam Selvadurai, a Sri Lankan Canadian novelist known for Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens.
According to the NIFS, all three species are short range endemic to Sri Lanka. Brignolia carlmulleri is known only from Riverston in the Knuckles Range and the Hantana FR. Brignolia ondaatjei is known only from Rawana Ella and Ohiya, whereas Brignolia shyami is known only from the Kurulukele forest reserve, in Kegalle.
All three species were known to have very limited distribution ranges and might be critically endangered as they were threatened by increased encroachment and other human activities related to the tourism, housing and agriculture industries, Piyathilake noted.