After becoming President, Barack Obama had a number of species named in his honor. Now, Donald Trump, however has managed to do him one better, finding an animal namesake days before his inauguration.
A miniscule moth with a wingspan of just 0.4 inches is the first species to be named for the soon-to-be president of the United States, Donald Trump. To encourage the conservation in the fragile areas, scientists have named the new moth as ‘Neopalpa donaldtrumpi’ in the honor of Trump. The tiny moth species was distinguished by its yellow, scale covered forehead and “unique genitalia”.
Biologist Dr. Vazrick Nazari from University of California said in a study that the moth officially named after Trump because it’s head resemble Trump’s signature hairstyle and turned it into an additional justification for its name.
According to Nazari, the name is intended to generate interest in North America’s “neglected micro-fauna.” The wall that the president-elect has proposed building along the border between the two countries could divide that stretch. Native to southern California and Baja Mexico, the moth emphasizes the continued importance of conservation in even well-studied regions.
“The discovery of this distinct micro-moth in the densely populated and otherwise zoologically well-studied southern California underscores the importance of conservation of the fragile habitats that still contains undescribed and threatened species and highlights the paucity of interest in species-level taxonomy of smaller faunal elements in North America,” said Nazari.
The study, published in the open access journal ZooKeys on Jan. 17, said that the reason for this choice of name is to bring wider public attention to the need to continue protecting fragile habitats in the US that still contain many undescribed species.
Nazari discovered the new species while examining moth specimens from the Bohart Museum of Entomology in California during an investigation of the North American moth family Gelechiidae, also known as twirler moths.
“Its distinctive wing pattern and its unique DNA bar code immediately flagged it as a new and undescribed species,” Nazari told Live Science in an email. The shapes of certain folds and pouch-like structures on N. donaldtrumpi’s genitalia were also unique to the species, Nazari wrote in the study.
While the new species doesn’t show the “highly-specialized phallus” previously thought to be characteristic of the genus, the male N. donaldtrumpi’s genital “valvae are strongly curved, the saccus has an acute tip, and the highly-developed bilobed processes of the vinculum, characteristic of N. neonata, are absent,” according to the study.
Twirler moths earned their common name from a habit of twirling in circles when disturbed. This is the second twirler moth species to be described in the Neopalpa genus, though the family includes more than 4,830 described species, and there may be as many as 10,000 species in that family worldwide, according to the “Encyclopedia of Entomology”.
President Barack Obama has inspired more species names than any other President, nine in total, including a coral reef fish native to Hawaii, a trapdoor spider and a type of lichen.