It seems Taylor Swift is now the name of a millipede!
According to Science Daily, the “All Too Well” singer has earned an unexpected accolade after scientists at Virginia Tech decided to name a millipede after her. The new species of twisted-claw millipede was reportedly discovered in the mountains of Tennessee.
Taylor Swift Achieves An Unexpected New Honor From Scientists
The twisted-claw millipede has officially been named Nannaria swiftae after “You Belong With Me” singer Taylor Swift. Swiftae joins sixteen new species of millipede that were found in the Appalachian Mountains of the United States.
These invertebrates are reported to have a valuable role as decomposers, where they break down leaf litter and release their nutrients into the ecosystem. These millipedes live on the forest floor, where they feed on decaying leaves and other plant matter. Because they tend to bury in the soil, they can be difficult to catch when hidden underground.
Scientists Derek Hennen, Jackson Means, and Paul Marek, at Virginia Tech described the new species in a research paper published in the open access journal ZooKeys. Their research was funded by a National Science Foundation Advancing Revisionary Taxonomy and Systematics grant.
Taylor Swift’s New Millipede Species Went ‘Undescribed For Decades’
Although scientists had suspected that their were many twisted-claw millipede species that have yet to be discovered, they were said to have gone “undescribed” for decades. This latest discovery was the result of a multi-year project to collect new specimens throughout the eastern United States.
Scientists have traveled to at least seventeen different states, turning over logs, checking under rocks, and sorting through leaf litter to try to find species so they could sequence their DNA and scientifically describe each species that they found.
During their field study, the scientists reportedly collected over 1,800 specimens from either field study or from university and museum collections. During their investigation, they found that millipedes prefer to live in forested habitats near streams and are usually found buried deep underneath the soil.
Scientist Lead Author Admits To Being A Fan Of Taylor Swift
I named other new species after tree species I noticed while I was collecting, so now we have Nannaria liriodendra (after tuliptree) and N. rhododendra (after rhododendron)! Thanks to the plants, these millipedes have great habitat to live in, after all! pic.twitter.com/jH2PpblNMw
— Derek Hennen, Ph.D. (@derekhennen) April 15, 2022
The study’s lead author, Derek Hennen, admitted to being a fan of the “I Bet You Think About Me” singer.
“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,” he said, according to the publication.
In a separate tweet, he shared, “This new millipede species is Nannaria swiftae: I named it after @taylorswift13! I’m a big fan of her music, so I wanted to show my appreciation by naming this new species from Tennessee after her. A high honor!”
He added, “I named other new species after tree species I noticed while I was collecting, so now we have Nannaria liriodendra (after tuliptree) and N. rhododendra (after rhododendron)! Thanks to the plants, these millipedes have great habitat to live in, after all!”
Although these new millipedes might be named after her, they don’t bear a resemblance to the “Gorgeous” singer. These millipedes are said to range between 18 and 38 mm long. They reportedly have shiny, caramel-brown to black bodies with white, red, or orange spots, and white legs.
The males are said to have small, twisted and flattened claws on their anterior legs, which is the basis for their common name.