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             Did you know that the surname Davranoglu (Daravanoglu) has a part in science, especially in entomology? Before getting into details of this amazing story, we would like to tell you about the change of this surname once again. Davranoglu and Daravanoglu are the surnames that the Vafiadis Family had to adopt in 1934 due to the Surname Law imposed by the Turkish state. Some stories in the family say that the Daravanoglu surname is a variation of Davranoglu, while other stories suggest that it is another surname that was adopted by the children of Stavros Vafiadis. In any case, we know that Davranoglu and Daravanoglu all originate from the Vafiadis family.


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The Change of Surnames from Vafiadis after 1934

            Leonidas-Romanos Davranoglu is a Greek entomologist who specializes in hemipteran morphology and taxonomy, is the great grandson of Koco Vafiadis, the brother of Hurmuzios Vafiadis. Here in this article we would like to share with you the story of 'Our Family in Science' with the own words of Leonidas-Romanos. We would like to thank him for his studies and this precious article he shared with us.

Our Family in Science: Augyles Davranogloui

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        That the Davranoglou family has an innate passion for animals can be seen from Hurmuzios Vafiadis’s zoo. Many of the modern Davranoglou have kept this tradition in their own distinct way, and some have even dedicated their entire careers to the study of animals. Insects are the dominant animals of the planet, both in terms of total number of species and their ecological impact. The people who professionally study insects are called entomologists.

        Very frequently, entomologists discover insects that nobody else has seen before; this means they are species new to science, and they need to be formally described in a scientific publication to be included in the list of known species. To do this, entomologists give new species a unique name in Latin, that is used to identify that particular species. No two species of insect can have the same name. Entomologists can use any name they want to describe the new species, but there is one rule: they can never name a species after themselves! But they can definitely name a new species after a friend or colleague, in order to honour them.

     In December 2019, Czech entomologist Stanislav Skalický, described a new species of beetle from Kenya, which he named after entomologist Leonidas Romanos Davranoglou, to honour his contributions to science!

     The new species is called Augyles davranogloui, and belongs to the family Heteroceridae, which are popularly known as variegated mud-loving beetles. There are more than 500 known species in this family. These beetles dig deep tunnels in muddy habitats close to water, and play an important ecological role in spreading seeds in the ground and serving as food for migrating birds. They feed on zooplankton and decaying material. Identifying these insects is no simple task, and entomologists have to dissect their genitalia (!) to recognise them, as they are unique to each species!

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Leonidas-Romanos Davranoglou ( Vafiadis )


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A specimen of Augyles davranogloui in the entomological collections of the Natural History Museum of London

        Having a tiny beetle that lives in mud named after you may not seem like an impressive achievement to some, but it is actually one of the greatest honours a person can receive. An entire organism is named after you, and your name will remain forever in science! The specimens of this new species are deposited in the Natural History Museum of London, one of the greatest scientific establishments of all time.

        Therefore, little Augyles davranogloui has immortalised the Davranoglou family and its history in the scientific literature! Who knows, if you ever visit Kenya, this beetle might fly next to you!

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New Species of Heteroceridae from Kenya and Zambia - Stanislav Skalicky / 2019

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