Maybe this will get Donald Trump to care about the environment: a biologist just named a new species of moth after the President-elect. Neopalpa donaldtrumpi bears an eerie resemblance to its namesake, by sporting a wild crop of blond scales on its head. Evolutionary biologist Vazrick Nazari hopes the clever appellation will highlight the need for continued conservation – he came up with it right as Republican congressmen announced their intentions to roll back the Endangered Species Act.
It appears some biologists still have a sense of humor even as a president who threatens to be terrible for the environment is slated to take office. Nazari, who is unaffiliated and based in Ottawa, Canada, was scrutinizing the Bohart Museum of Entomology‘s specimen collection at U.C. Davis when he saw some small moths that stood apart from the others because of their strange wing markings and small genitals. DNA barcoding couldn’t identify the moths, which means Nazari had stumbled across a new species – and he had the perfect name in mind.
In his research article published by ZooKeys, Nazari said, “The new species is named in honor of Donald J. Trump, to be installed as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017… The specific epithet is selected because of the resemblance of the scales on the frons (head) of the moth to Mr. Trump’s hairstyle.”
The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi also bears another hilarious similarity to its bombastic namesake. It’s a member of the twirler moth family, named for their tendency to spin in circles when stressed (Trump’s Twitter rants, anyone?).
In his article Nazari said, “The discovery of this distinct micro-moth in the densely populated and otherwise zoologically well-studied southern California underscores the importance of the conservation of the fragile habitats that still contain undescribed and threatened species.”
Images via Vazrick Nazari