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Meet the Trump moth

The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi moth has a distinctive hairstyle The Neopalpa donaldtrumpi moth has a distinctive hairstyle Vazrick Nazari
18 Jan
2017
The new President of the United States has a namesake – one that’s keen on keeping the US border with Mexico open

It’s the distinctive yellow-white hairstyle which gives it away. Following its recent discovery, this species of moth has been given the official name Neopalpa donaldtrumpi – after the incoming 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.

The discovery, identification and classification of the name was made by Dr Vazrick Nazari, who found it within material borrowed from the Bohart Museum of Entomology, University of California. The N. donaldtrumpi belongs to a distinct subspecies of the Neopalpa neonata Povolný, which was discovered by Czech entomologist Dalibor Povolný in 1998.

trump mothDespite just being officially discovered, the moth is one of many wildlife species in a fragile state of existence (Image: Vazrick Nazari)

‘The discovery of this distinct micro-moth in the densely populated and otherwise zoologically well-studied southern California area 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,’ says Dr. Vazrick Nazari.

‘By naming this species after the 45th President of the United States, I hope to bring some public attention to, and interest in, the importance of alpha-taxonomy in better understanding the neglected micro-fauna component of the North American biodiversity.’

The irony presumably isn’t lost on Nazari that this particular species inhabits both sides of the US-Mexican border – populating both Riverside and Imperial counties in California, and the Mexican state of Baja California.

mapDistribution of Neopalpa moth species (Image: Vazrick Nazari)

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