Taylor Swift receives “high honour” from American scientist

Forget the Grammys – one superfan scientist has given Taylor Swift the ultimate accolade… an arthropod named after her.

According to Phys.org, scientists discovered 16 new species of millipede in the North American Appalachian Mountains, and the “twisted-claw millipede” has been named Nannaria swiftae in the ‘Folklore’ singer’s honour.

The discovery was made during a study by Virginia Tech scientists.

The lead author of the study, Derek Hennen, is a Swift fan and chose the name, saying: “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 and fellow scientists Jackson Means and Paul Marek described the new species in a research paper published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Nannaria swiftae has also only been found in Tennessee, a state where Swift has lived.

The little-known invertebrates have a valuable role as decomposers, breaking down leaf litter and releasing their nutrients into the ecosystem. They live on the forest floor, where they feed on decaying leaves and other plant matter.

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The millipedes are tricky to catch, as they are quite often completely buried under the leaf litter.

Hennen also named one of the new species after his wife: Nannaria marianae.

The scientist shared his discoveries to Twitter:

“I had fun figuring out names for these species; here’s one that I named after my wife: Nannaria marianae!” he wrote. “A small thank-you for all her patience when we’re taking a nature hike and I stop to look for millipedes.”

He added a second tweet with a photo of the Nannaria swiftae: “This new millipede species is Nannaria swiftae: I named it after @taylorswift13,” he wrote. “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!”

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