Remember Whensday: Myrmekiaphila Neilyoungi

remember whensday

On this day in music history, something extraordinary happened. Neil Young is one of my favorite artists, so I was all over this story. Setting: East Carolina University. People: professor Jason E. Bond and arachnologist (expert of spiders) Norman Platnick. Musician: the legendary Neil Young. Bond had discovered a new species of trapdoor spiders apparently because these trapdoor spiders are distinguishable from differences in genetalia, and the M. Neilyoungi spider has completely different DNA strands from the next.

When asked why Niel Young, (though it’s a pretty obvious go-to name for me) Bond said, “I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice.” Well put Professor Bond! Honestly, I can’t think of a better person to name a new spider species after. Neil Young made some political noise throughout the years. He wrote a song about President Bush, and the title had no room for misunderstanding as it was called “Let’s Impeach the President.” His album Fork in the Road was almost entirely about his electric car. He also wrote a song about environmental activism called “Who’s Gonna Stand Up.” He was an obvious candidate for the name of a new species.

But more about this awesome new spider, it’s not like this is a music site or something. Established in 2008, Myrmekiaphila Neilyoungi’s part of the trapdoor spider variety, which means they burrow in the ground and create a flapped door at the entrance. Its conservation threat is of “least concern,” so if you step on a little Neil Young by accident, you won’t be harming its existence. He’s non-poisonous, so feel free to stop and say hello if you see one!

Over the years, many things, living and not living, have been named after musicians. But can you honestly say that a musician besides Neil Young inspired the name of an entire species in the animal kingdom.

About Emma Kelley

I'm a junior in Global Studies. If you can't find me at Kam's or sitting in a Starbucks watching Netflix, I'm most likely sitting in my room learning Ukulele tabs to top radio hits. Music is a passion of mine, and my nickname is "The Human Jukebox."

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