One scientist is trying to raise money for the environment by selling the naming rights for a new species of moths that he discovered. The right to name the moth is being sold on eBay.
The new moth was discovered by entomologist Eric H. Metzler. Rather than name the moth himself, he decided to sell the right to name the moth on eBay. The proceeds will go to the Western National Parks Association, a group that helped to fund Metzler’s research.
The auction on eBay is set to end on October 23rd. The listing started at $500 and so far more than 30 people have placed bids.
The moth was discovered eight years ago at New Mexico’s White Sands National Monument. The moth is only about an inch long, and it weighs less than an ounce.
While Metzler has already discovered 600 species of moths, it took several years for this species to receive approval for being a new species.
The winning bidder will receive the right to work alongside Metzler in coming up with a name for the moth. The name will have to follow the strict guidelines put into place by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the organization that determines the rules for naming new species of animals.
This process was explained by a curator at the Grant Museum of the University College of London, Paolo Viscardi.
“When you discover a new species, the first thing you have to do is produce a description of it, then these days you might want to do DNA barcoding. What you’re doing is providing a reference so that others can recognize that species,” Viscardi said.
After Metzler and the winning bidder come up with the name, it will be submitted to the ICZN for approval.
While most names are derived from the animal’s appearance or the animal’s place of origin, some researchers have come up with rather creative names in the past.
For instance, one beetle was named Agathidium vaderi for having a head shaped like that of popular Star Wars villain Darth Vader.
While the auction is mostly for fun, the real benefit is going to the national park that will receive money from the proceeds. Any method of helping to fund scientific research is typically viewed as positive.