Vazrick Nazari, an entomologist at the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes, discovered a new species of moth. The moth has a unique appearance, reminding us of the highly criticized President elect Donald Trump.
Nazari’s paper reexamined the moth genus Neopalpa and analyzed several specimens from California and Mexico, thus discovering the new species. He noticed that two males and one female from Algodones dunes in California had unique genitalia and wing patterns that had not been seen before in other species. Other similarities in genitalia found in both genders helped Nazari associate them with the genus Neopalpa and other DNA tests proved his hypothesis to be true.
However, the specimens could not be pertaining to the Neopalpa neonata species. Their external appearance was different. Yellowish-white scales were covering the frons of the adult head and the forewing dorsum had a distinctive orange-yellow coloration. The frons represents the area of the face above the antennae or, in other words, a kind of forehead.
Other differences were present in the male genitalia. The valvae, organs that are used to grasp the female abdomen during mating, were strongly curved. The sacculus, an expanded basal portion of the male genitalia, had an acute tip. Other particularities of Neopalpa neonata were absent.
This brought Nazari to the conclusion that his specimens pertained to a whole new species. The new name he chose for them might be found amusing to some: Neopalpa donaldtrumpi. Some presumed that the moth’s appearance of the genitalia played an important role when Nazari chose the name. However, he insisted on disappointing them.
He declared that the new species was named in honor of Donald Trump on his installment as 45th President of the United States on January 20th, 2017. By choosing this name, he hopes he can bring public attention to the fact that people need to protect fragile habitats in the US. Usually, these habitats are home to many unknown species that are waiting to be discovered. He also admitted that the name was inspired by the resemblance of the scales on the moth’s head with Donald Trump’s hairstyle.
We are about to see if the subject of fragile habitat protection will become more popular after this interesting choice of name.
Image Source: Pixabay