Donald Trump’s inauguration as the 45th President of the US is just around the corner and before he sets foot in the White House, he’s been glorified through a moth species named Neopalpa donaldtrumpi.
According to Zookeys, an online science journal, this moth is unique in that it has tiny genitalia and appears to have a tuft of blonde hair on its head just like Donald Trump and his iconic mane. It is usually found in Arizona and California and has a wingspan of up to 12 millimeters.
Dr. Vazrick Nazari is credited for discovering and naming this moth species. One day, he was reviewing different moth species belonging to the Neopalpa genus. Subsequently, he came across a species that had distinct attributes compared with the rest of his subjects. One of these characteristics is that it had tinier genitalia. He further proved that it was a still undiscovered species after reviewing catalogs and DNA barcodes used for classifying living things.
DNA barcoding is a relatively new procedure used for identifying different plant and animal species. This is done by obtaining DNA sequence taken from tissues of an organism. Those involved in the science of taxonomy use this as a research tool as it helps in species identification. It is an extensive search tool as it includes information about the various stages of the life of an organism.
Barcoding DNA requires two important steps. The first is constructing a DNA barcode library of identified species followed by comparing barcode sequence of the newly discovered species against the established ones.
Naming animal species after US presidents aren’t new at all. Outgoing President Barack Obama had a string of nine species in his honor, making him the US head of state with the most species named after him. Bill Clinton was honored with a fish, George W. Bush, a beetle, and Ronald Reagan had a wasp in his name.
According to Dr. Nazari, he thought of Donald Trump after realizing that the new moth species does resemble the President’s very famous blonde hair. This led to the birth of Neopalpa donaldtrumpi.
Dr. Nazari expressed hope that this will help raise awareness on the importance of micro-fauna, which he feels have been sidelined for quite some time.
But with the newly-identified moth species in honor of the very soon-to-be President, Donald Trump, this could be the start of something new for the moth fauna, including the one carrying the “presidential” blonde mane.