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Taylor Swift latest addition to all-star cast of creepy crawling critters

Taylor Swift could have been talking about this skittering insect when she wrote “Shake it Off.“ A millipede commonly found in the Appalachian Mountains was recently renamed for her as a tribute to the pop star. The so-dubbed Nannaria swiftae is one of 17 new species of millipede discovered in the region and is vital for decomposition and nutrients spread in wooded ecosystems. “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,” said Virginia Tech entomologist Derek Hennen in a statement. The Post has reached out to Swift’s publicist for comment. They tend to hide just below the soil surface where they can munch undisturbed on decaying leaves and plant matter. Their stealth existence is part of the reason they were so difficult to analyze, researchers said. A multi-year project to collect and record unidentified specimens was launched across 17 states throughout the Eastern US, during which Hennen and fellow scientists Jackson Means and Paul Mare groped at the forest floor to peep under rocks, leaves and logs in search of hiding millipedes. They found more than 1,800 critters, including some already found in university and museum collections, with 17 new species described in their report published in the open-access journal ZooKeys. 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. Male Nannaria millipedes are characterized by having “twisted” claws at the ends of their front legs. The “You Need to Calm Down” singer joins a long list of celebrities already immortalized in binomial nomenclature, including: · The Uvariopsis dicaprio tree of Cameroon’s Ebo forest, prized for its biodiversity and named after A-list actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. · Though not a real person, “Star Wars” hero Luke Skywalker was the inspiration behind China’s newly named Skywalker hoolock gibbon — which, like the Jedi, is also considered an endangered species. · “Folsom Prison Blues” wailer Johnny Cash was a convenient choice for one arachnologist and fan who named a tarantula Aphonopelma johnnycashi after capturing one near Folsom State Prison near arid Sacramento County, California. · A temperature-sensitive snail was named Craspedotropis gretathunberga, after climate change activist Greta Thunberg, who also can’t stand a warming environment. · Fans of “The Rain Song” rockers Led Zeppelin gave rise to the name Pristimantis ledzeppelin for a rare rain frog found near the border of Peru and Ecuador in the Andes Mountains. · The fossil of a prehistoric “vampire” squid was named Syllipsimopodi bideni for President Joe Bien, which the author insisted was a tribute to the oldest person to assume the US presidency. · There are reportedly at least 10 recently identified species named after former President Barack Obama, including a few fish, two spiders, two parasites, a bird, an extinct lizard and a symbiotic lichen — the first organism to be named after the 44th president. · In 2020, the Children’s Museum in West Harford, Connecticut, named a Madagascar hissing cockroach “Keith” to commemorate Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards’ 77th birthday that year.

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