Scientists name new centipede species after singer Taylor Swift

Scientists name new centipede species after singer Taylor Swift

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Singer Taylor Swift has over 200 songs and countless Grammy, Billboard and American Music awards to her credit. But she could hardly have thought that her person would become a source of inspiration for the name of a new species of insect.

Scientists name new centipede species after singer Taylor Swift 1

A group of scientists from the Virginia Institute of Technology have been working on a project for 5 years to study centipedes with curled claws in the eastern United States. The researchers studied more than 1,800 samples collected during fieldwork or taken from university and museum collections. They traveled to 17 US states, checking fallen leaves, rocks and logs to sequence the DNA of previously unstudied centipedes and describe them scientifically. They eventually discovered 17 new species and published their findings in the journal ZooKeys.

Scientists name new centipede species after singer Taylor Swift 2

One of the new centipede species has been named Nannaria swiftae, after pop sensation Taylor Swift. Study lead author Dr. Derek Hennen is a fan of the singer and wanted to thank her in his own way. “Her music helped me get through my highs and lows in graduate school, so naming a new centipede species after her is my way of saying thank you.” In his opinion, since this species was found in Tennessee, where the singer once lived, the name is very appropriate. The scientist named another species of centipedes in honor of his wife Marian, Nannaria marianae.

These little-known invertebrates play an important role as decomposers – by destroying fallen leaves, they release nutrients into the ecosystem. Millipedes live on the forest floor, where they feed on rotting leaves and other plant matter. They are quite difficult to catch, as they tend to burrow into the soil, occasionally remaining completely below the surface.

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