Most people missed it last January 2017 when a peculiar new moth species was identified in Mexico. It was characterized by a tuft of yellow-white, blondish scales on its head. The tufts resembled a familiar blond comb-over that was in all the headlines. Consequently, it was given a name based on its appearance.
Right before the inauguration of then-president-elect Donald Trump, the species was named after the iconic figure. With a teeny-tiny wingspan of just 0.4 inches, the small moth barely got an honorable mention in the headlines.
Named Neopalpa donaldtrumpi by biologist Vazrick Nazari, the minuscule species also has a less-flattering feature. That feature, described as a unique genitalia, was included in the reason for naming the moth after the soon-to-be president. Like the rest of the moth, the genitalia is unique in its tiny size.
According to Live Science, Nazari, a researcher from Ottawa, Canada:
… 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.
In an email to Live Science, Nazari said:
Its distinctive wing pattern and its unique DNA bar code immediately flagged it as a new and undescribed species
The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi is a member of the twirler family of moths, who have a habit a twirling in circles when disturbed. The more we learn about this species, the more perfect the name is.
The habitat of the moth species spans from southern California to Baja California in Mexico. If Trump ever gets his wall built, it will rip right through the moth’s habitat, possibly endangering it.
Nazari had high hopes for the future when he named this little Twirler moth, telling Live Science:
“I hope that the president will make conservation of such fragile ecosystems in the U.S. his top priority. These ecosystems still contain many undiscovered and undescribed species, and deserve to be protected for future generations.”
That isn’t going to be a happening thing during the Trump administration.
Not everyone missed the original announcement. There was quite an uproar on Twitter and a round of laughter than spanned the globe.
— I Hate Joe Buck (@jay2010_) January 18, 2017
hence forward , the grabus vaginus moth
— Nem Rac D (@ladydth) January 18, 2017
LOL. Mini moth living on Mexican US border, flies in circles when stressed, named after Trump.
— Mary Mooney (@MaryCleary) January 18, 2017
So, in case you missed it last year…
Now you know that there is an itty-bitty moth flying around in Mexico with itty-bitty genitalia. It bears the name of a man who has many of the same attributes (although we’d have to get the official measurements from Stormy Daniels for part of the anatomical comparison).
And it twirls in circles when disturbed.
I think we can honestly say that this fellow was appropriately named. It does seem kind of unfair to saddle the little critter with that moniker though.
Featured image from YouTube video.