eBay Auction Winner Gets To Name New Moth Species


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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3041 eBay Auction Winner Gets To Name New Moth Species
Western National Parks Association/eBay

You can now (kind of) join the leagues of Bob Marley, Richard Dawkins, Lou Reed, Beyoncé, Obama and Bill Gates by having a species named after you. The Western National Parks Association (WNPA) has put the scientific name rights of a recently discovered moth on eBay.

Eight years ago, Eric H. Metzler discovered a new species of moth in White Sands National Monument, New Mexico. The moth, which weighs less than 30 grams (an ounce) and has a wingspan of about 2.5 centimeters (1 inch), is a peppered gray member of the Givira genus.


Metzler is somewhat of a moth connoisseur. So far in his career as an entomologist, he’s cataloged 600 species of moth and discovered about 40 new ones. The WNPA is a non-profit organization which supports 67 parks and has funded Metzler’s work twice.

As a small thank you, Metzler has given the WNPA the opportunity to auction off the rights to name the moth.

"I am not a rich man and I don't have a lot of money to give to charity but this is the way I could give them money in the form of service. I could use my brains to help them," Metzler told the Associated Press.

The official scientific name will be permanently attributed to whoever wins the auction and will be documented in the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature on ZooBank, an online registry of animals. The auction winner will work with Metzler to create a name which must be Latinized. A specimen of the moth will also be kept in the Smithsonian Institute for the winner to visit.


The auction started at just $500 (£320) on Saturday and will end Friday October 23. The current bid, at the time of writing, is $5,800 (£3,746) and rising quickly. You can bid for it right here on eBay. Just make sure you call it the Ifuckinglovesciencicus.


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