A group of scientists have named a newly-discovered species of millipede after Taylor Swift.
In a tweet on Saturday (April 16), Dr. Derek Hennen shared the names of some of the 17 species of the insect that he and his Virginia Tech team – Drs. Jackson Means and Paul Marek – had shared in a new paper published by ZooKeys.
Discovered in the US state of Tennessee, the Nannaria swiftae – or Swift Twisted-Claw Millipede – was ascribed the name by Hennen because he is a big fan of Swift.
“I wanted to show my appreciation by naming this new species from Tennessee after her,” Hennen wrote, “A high honor!”
Per Rolling Stone, Hennen elaborated: “Her music helped me get through the highs and lows of graduate school, so naming a new millipede species after her is my way of saying thanks.”
Hennen explained in his Twitter that he and the other scientists had spent five years searching for the millipedes in the Appalachian Mountains. So far, the Nannaria swiftae has only been discovered in Tennessee, Swift’s home state.
Other species of the critter were also given names with personal ties to Hennen, such as the Nannaria marianae given for his wife.
BIG NEWS! Our new paper describing 17 new species of Twisted-Claw Millipedes from Appalachia is published! I spent 5 years of my life searching for them with @Nannaria1 and @apheloria. I named a new species after my wife, and another after @taylorswift13! https://t.co/QXRT6gk1Px pic.twitter.com/kL4T56P4Qd
— Derek Hennen, Ph.D. (@derekhennen) April 15, 2022
It’s not the first time a big name artist has had their name tied to a new discovery in the animal kingdom.
In 2020, a new species of venomous snake was named for Metallica‘s James Hetfield. The Atheris hetfieldi, a species of African Bush Viper, was given its name when by researchers “as a thank you for all the good vibes his [Hetfield] music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers”.
And in 2019, four new species of spider were discovered and named after members of Iron Maiden, Scorpian, Def Leppard and Angra, while 2017 saw a new species of prawn – the Synalpheus pinkfloydi — named for classic rock legends Pink Floyd.