Scientists Name a Millipede After Taylor Swift
Celebrity status comes with plenty of perks. From a superior Disneyland experience (complete with their own entrances!) to swag bags filled with luxury goodies, being among the stars comes with fringe benefits that most of us can only dream about. One example of special treatment that we might not consider is the honor of having bugs named after us. It’s a privilege bestowed to the likes of Taylor Swift, and she’s not the only star who has gotten this perk!
Taylor Swift may be the most famous musician of her generation
Celebrity status is an amorphous thing. How do we determine just how famous someone is? Is it their Instagram followers? (Swift has 208 million of those.) Is it their net worth? (Swift has amassed a fortune of around $400 million — 100 times the net worth of her boyfriend.) Surely those things are a marker of someone’s success, but they only measure how that success has grown. They don’t necessarily explain how it got there.
Swift’s parents promoted her talents from an early age, and she was on Myspace when the platform was still in its infancy. By 12, she was writing her own songs inspired by country music greats, and she released her first album at age 17 after her father moved the entire family to Nashville in order to make her musical dreams come true.
Singles from that first album stayed mainly on the country charts, but when “Teardrops On My Guitar” showed crossover appeal, Swift made a leap to the pop charts, and it was there her career started to soar. Today, she’s one of the best-selling musicians of all time, and she points to miserable experiences with painful friendships for guiding her to write songs that resonated with her fans in an authentic way.
Taylor Swift has a millipede named after her
Of course, you’d expect all that fame and fortune to lead to a pretty remarkable life. Designer clothes, fast cars, big houses, and gourmet dining all seem like pretty normal perks for someone who has risen to the top of the entertainment world.
What you maybe haven’t considered is that all those fans of Taylor Swift’s are out in the world leaving their own mark in their respective fields — and some of them are entomologists.
As The New York Post reports, Virginia Tech entomologist Derek Hennen is a Taylor Swift fan: “Her music helped me get through the highs and lows of graduate school.” When it came time to give a newly discovered millipede species a name, he knew just how to honor the cherished pop star.
That’s right! Nannaria swiftae is a multi-legged bug named after Swift. The pop-inspired creepy crawler is just one of 17 species of millipedes recently discovered in the Appalachian Mountain region. The critter sounds quite fashionable, too: “The new set of Nannaria millipedes measure 18 and 38 millimeters long and have a brown to black trunk with white, red or orange spots and white legs.”
Many celebrities have had bugs named in their honor
While Swift should certainly feel proud to have her name passed on in such an impressive way, she’s not alone. Many celebrities have been granted the honor of influencing entomologists in their naming practices.
Aphonopelma johnnycashi is a tarantula species named after bad boy crooner Johnny Cash. Craspedotropis gretathunberga is a snail whose temperature sensitivity led scientists to name it after climate change activist Greta Thunberg.
As Science reports, former U.S. President Barack Obama was so influential that he’s been the spark behind the names of at least nine different creatures including a trapdoor spider, an extinct lizard, and a lichen.