Donald Trump’s hair inspires name for new species of moth

19 Jan 2017

The newly discovered Neopalpa donaldtrumpi species. Image: Vazrick Nazari/ZooKeys

A newly discovered species of moth has been named after incoming US president Donald Trump, largely due to their very similar hairstyle.

The moth species was discovered by Canadian biologist and researcher Vazrick Nazari, while going through specimens borrowed from the Bohart Museum of Entomology that did not match any previously known species.

Following further analysis, it was found that Nazari did indeed discover the second species of a genus of twirler moths.

Due to its yellowish-white scales present on the head of the species, Nazari thought it would be appropriate to name it Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, in honour of Donald Trump and his rather distinctive hairstyle.

Publishing his findings in the journal ZooKeys, Nazari has said that he hopes that 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.

With its habitat stretching across the states of California and Baja California in Mexico, the heavily urbanised and populated areas mean that the new species is under threat of extinction.

A conservation message

Aside from making fun of the soon-to-be 45th president of the US, Nazari wanted to give the moth this name to get the newly discovered species attention and raise awareness of ecological fragility.

“By naming this species after the 45th president of the US, I hope to bring some public attention to, and interest in, the importance of alpha taxonomy in better understanding the neglected microfauna component of the North American biodiversity,” Nazari said.

This latest naming of a newly discovered creature comes after last September’s discovery of a hairy caterpillar, whose hue was strangely reminiscent of Donald Trump’s hair colour.

At the time, wildlife photographer Jeff Cremer was exploring the Peruvian Amazon when he spotted the creature.

“I was putting on my boots, and someone said, ‘Hey, check out this caterpillar hanging out’,” he said.

“Sure enough, it was Donald Trump’s hair hanging on a branch.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic