Insect named after Donald Trump

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Ahead of his swearing-in as the 45th President of U.S. on Friday, a new endangered species of moth has been named in honour of President-elect, Donald Trump, by scientists because the insect shares his hairstyle.

The new moth, officially described as “Neopalpa donaldtrumpi”, stands out with yellowish-white scales present on the head in adults, according to the research published in the journal ZooKeys.

It was in these scales that evolutionary biologist Vazrick Nazari from Ottawa, Canada found an amusing reference to Trump’s hairstyle and turned it into an additional justification for its name.

“With its hair tufts, its presence in U.S. and Mexico, and its fragile habitat that needs conservation, I really did not have any choice with this one other than to name the moth after Mr President-elect himself,” Mr. Nazari said.

Mr. Nazari said he also chose the name to bring awareness to conservation challenges.

“By naming this species after the 45th President of the United States, I hope to bring some public attention to the importance of conservation of the fragile habitats in the United States that still contain undescribed and threatened species, and generate interest in the importance of alpha-taxonomy in better understanding the neglected micro-fauna component of the North American biodiversity,” he said.

It is a mission Mr. Nazari hopes Mr. Trump’s administration will appreciate.

“Having a species named after you is almost always an honour, since your name becomes immortal in the scientific literature.

“I am hoping that by appealing to Mr. Trump’s good nature, the next administration will make an effort to continue protecting the fragile habitats in the US that are home to as of yet unknown species,” Mr. Nazari said.

The fame around the new moth will successfully point to the critical need for further conservation efforts for fragile areas such as the habitat of the new species, Mr. Nazari said.

While going through material borrowed from the Bohart Museum of Entomology at University of California, Davis in the U.S., Mr. Nazari stumbled across a few specimens that did not match any previously known species.

Following thorough analysis of these moths, as well as material from other institutions, the scientist confirmed he had discovered the second species of a genus of twirler moths.

While both species in the genus share a habitat, stretching across the states of California in U.S., and Baja California in Mexico, one can easily tell them apart.

Being a substantially urbanised and populated area, the habitat of Neopalpa donaldtrumpi is also under serious threat.

“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 contain undescribed and threatened species, and highlights the paucity of interest in species-level taxonomy of smaller faunal elements in North America,” Mr. Nazari said.

In November, a pheasant bird sporting Trump’s ‘hairstyle’ soared to internet fame after Trump’s election victory.

Pictures of the animal became widely shared on Chinese media after a journalist from Hangzhou took a picture of the male bird and pointed out the ‘striking similarity’ between him and the President-elect.

Trump, 70, will succeed the outgoing 44th U.S. President Barack Obama on Jan. 20.

Trump’s flying namesake has been announced only a month following the recently described species of basslet named after Barack Obama.

The fish is only known from coral reefs in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaii, a nature reserve which Obama expanded to become the largest protected marine area in the world.


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