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From Parasites to Tropical Fish: Species Named After Famous Politicians

© Wikipedia / Jeanne Le Roux/L.JoubinGrimalditeuthis bonplandi
Grimalditeuthis bonplandi - Sputnik International
American biologist Thomas Platt named a new species of flatworm parasite in honor of current US President Barack Obama. According to the scientist, Baracktrema obamai was named as a tribute to the current head of state. Sputnik looks at a list of not necessarily pleasant creatures that were named after famous politicians.

US President Barack Obama speaks during a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in central London with Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (unseen) following a meeting at Downing Street, in London, Britain April, 22, 2016. - Sputnik International
What an Honor! Newly Discovered Parasite Named After Barack Obama
Barack Obama

The newly named Baracktrema obamai is the second parasite named for the 44th president, following a parasitic hairworm found in the Lake Victoria region of Kenya in 2012.

The new parasite was discovered by biologist Thomas Platt last year. The parasite is a blood fluke, a tiny flatworm that lives in the blood vessels of the lungs of its hosts, Malaysian freshwater turtles. Its presence can cause mild inflammation and even paralysis or death to its host.

In addition to the two parasites, Obama has loaned his name to a fish from Tennessee Etheostoma obama, extinct lizard Obamadon gracilis, bird Nystalus obamai and trapdoor spider Aptostichus barackobamai.

Obama's name has also been used for  a Californian lichen, named in 2008, “for the president's support of science and science education,” according to news website Science Daily.

Adolf Hitler

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Anophthalmus hitleri is a species of blind cave beetle found only in five humid caves in Slovenia. It was named by a German collector in 1933 who was an admirer of Hitler at the time after he had just become the leader of Nazi Germany.

As a result, the poor beetle was on the verge of extinction when neo-Nazis from all over the world were eager to aquite the beetle as a souvenir. At present, the beetle is protected by law in Slovenia and it is prohibited to catch it.

© WikipediaAnophthalmus hitle
Anophthalmus hitle - Sputnik International
Anophthalmus hitle

George Bush Jr., Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Darth Vader

Each of the four famous people  became “godfathers” in 2005 at the behest of biologists Kelly Miller and Quentin Wheeler to one of the small beetles’ genus Agathidium.

There are now Agathidium bushi, Agathidium cheneyi, Agathidium rumsfeldi and Agathidium vaderi. According to Wheeler, George Bush Jr. called him with words of gratitude on behalf of himself, Don and Dick for the honor.

The reaction of Darth Vader [character from Star Wars] was not reported!

© WikipediaAgathidium varians
Agathidium varians - Sputnik International
Agathidium varians

Vladimir Lenin

Only one animal was named after Lenin,  an animal which has long gone extinct. Discovered in 2013, in the Ulyanovsk region, the fossil of the ichthyosaur was named Leninia stellans.

The water predator was seven-meters in length and had huge eyes 20 centimeters in diameter!

© WikipediaLeninia stellans
Leninia stellans - Sputnik International
Leninia stellans

Nelson Mandela

The first black president of South Africa can compete for the number of namesakes in the animal world with his American counterpart.

Marine biologists Angel Vlades and Terry Gosliner named a sea slug Mandelia Micocornata in 1999. The two are quoted as saying: “It is regarded as something of an honor to have a species of organism named after you. To have a genus named after you is even more of an honor because new genera are less often named than new species. However, an even greater honor is to have a family named after you because new families are rarely created.”

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In 2002 a new species of the small African orb-weaver spider was found near Cape Town and named Singafrotypa mandela in honor of Nelson Mandela.

Another marine crustacean, Munidopsis mandela and fossil woodpecker Australopicus nelsonmandelai were also named after the great African leader.

© WikipediaMandelia mirocornata
Mandelia mirocornata - Sputnik International
Mandelia mirocornata

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter

Each of the American leaders received a perch, not in the literal sense of course, but in recognition of their merits for wildlife conservation in America.

Perch is a common name for fish of the genus Perca, freshwater gamefish belonging to the family Percidae.

Etheostoma clinton lives in Clinton’s native state of Arkansas and Etheostoma jimmycarter and Etheostoma gore reside in Kentucky and Tennessee respectively.

© WikipediaEtheostoma clinton
Etheostoma clinton - Sputnik International
Etheostoma clinton

Prince Charles

In honor of the heir to the British crown, in 2012 an extremely rare Ecuadorian frog, Hyloscirtus princecharlesi, was named after Prince Charles. The animal has been scantily studied so far and  only three males and one tadpole of the species have been caught.

© WikipediaHyloscirtus princecharlesi
Hyloscirtus princecharlesi  - Sputnik International
Hyloscirtus princecharlesi
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