posted at 6:01 pm on September 8, 2016 by John Sexton
There’s a very old joke that goes: Politics comes from the Greek poly meaning many and tics meaning bloodsuckers. That came to mind again when I read this AP story about a newly named parasite:
Meet Baracktrema obamai, a tiny parasitic flatworm that lives in turtles’ blood. A new study officially names the two-inch-long, hair-thin creature after Obama.
Thomas Platt, the newly retired biology professor at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana who chose the name, says it’s an honor, not an insult. Really…
Platt says this one reminds him of the president: “It’s long. It’s thin. And it’s cool as hell.”
There’s a picture of this worm at Popular Science. It looks like any other worm except for the strikingly large ears. (Okay, I made that up.) Here’s what it actually looks like:
Politico notes this isn’t even the first parasite named after the President:
In April, 2012, the University of New Mexico announced that a new species of hairworm was discovered near Obama’s father’s birthplace in Kenya. Named “Paragordius obamai,” the hairworm is unique in that it can reproduce without a male.
In addition to parasites, Obama has been the inspiration behind the naming of a trapdoor spider, a lichen, a brightly colored fish and an ancient lizard named “Obamadon.”
Platt, the scientist who named this worm after Obama, is a distant cousin of Obama.