Elota, Sinaloa.- Gonolobus naturalistae is the scientific name of a new species of plant from the meloncillos group described in the scientific journal Phytotaxa last November: “Gonolobus naturalistae (Apocynaceae; Asclepiadoideae; Gonolobeae; Gonolobinae), is a new species from Mexico”, discovered in Elota, Sinaloa.
The authors named it in homage to Naturalista.mx, the citizen science platform managed by the National Commission for the Knowledge and Use of Biodiversity (CONABIO), which in 2013 was established as the first iNaturalist node established at an international level.
Under the leadership of Dr. Carlos Galindo Leal, the CONABIO Naturalist team has done a great job disseminating the platform nationwide and promoting a series of citizen participation and conservation efforts. The authors’ decision to use their discovery as an opportunity to honor Naturalista is one of the testimonies of the impact of this work.
The history of Gonolobus naturalistae begins with Fernando Pío León (user @pioleon in the Naturalista social network), a botanist based in Sinaloa who approached the Gonolobus genus for the first time back in 2016.
However, neither he nor any other member of the Naturalist community could identify that his discovery was part of the genus since its characteristics did not coincide with those of any of the described species. So, at that moment the scientist realized that it was a species not yet described at all, but it took two years of new investigations for Fernando to contact the specialist Guadalupe Chávez Hernández (@lupitachavezhdez).
Because of its contribution to science, it is worth recognizing the Naturalista.mx online platform and using it to name a new species.