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Illustration by Rebecca O'Connell // Ant head via Smithsonian FB page, Roosevelt thorax via Public Domain
Illustration by Rebecca O'Connell // Ant head via Smithsonian FB page, Roosevelt thorax via Public Domain

15 Bugs Named After Politicians

Illustration by Rebecca O'Connell // Ant head via Smithsonian FB page, Roosevelt thorax via Public Domain
Illustration by Rebecca O'Connell // Ant head via Smithsonian FB page, Roosevelt thorax via Public Domain

When it comes to honorific gestures made for politicians, getting a city named after you is probably at the top of the tribute hierarchy (hello, Washington, D.C.). International airports or aircraft carriers aren't too shabby, either, and any president worth his or her salt should have a few high schools thrown their way (good luck finding a Richard M. Nixon College Prep).

But where do bugs come in? Entomologists get to name their discoveries, and many have used the opportunity to give homage to political leaders. If you can't get an airport named after you, a slime-mold beetle is a pretty decent consolation prize.

1. LITURGUSA ALGOREI // AL GORE

This praying mantis discovered near the Amazon in Peru is named after Al Gore. The find—one of 19 new species of mantis—was announced in 2014 and named after the former vice president for his environmental work.

2. CALIGULA // GAIUS JULIUS CAESAR AUGUSTUS GERMANICUS (A.K.A. "CALIGULA")

This genus of moth found in Asia doesn't hold incest-rife orgies and rarely shows signs of clinical insanity, so naming it after the Roman emperor seems like an odd choice.

3. ANELOSIMUS NELSONI // NELSON MANDELA

This South African cobweb spider was named to honor the country's former president. It's part of a genus commonly found in America [PDF], though nelsoni is one of a bunch of new species that were discovered in Africa or Southeast Asia; others include Anelosimus biglebowski and Anelosimus dude—entomologists are big fans of the Coen brothers film, apparently.

4. LINCOLNA // ABRAHAM LINCOLN

This parasitic Australian wasp was discovered in 1940 and is named for the 16th president of the United States. A fitting tribute to the greatest leader in American history.

5. APTOSTICHUS BARACKOBAMAI // BARACK OBAMA

Auburn University entomologist Jason Bond discovered this new species of trapdoor spider in 2012 and named it after President Obama. "It’s difficult for me to envision a higher honor,” Bond told the Washington Post. "In science, there are few things that we do as scientists that has the permanency that taxonomy does.”

6. ALLENDIA CHILENSIS // SALVADORE ALLENDE

Allendia chilensis is a patronym for Salvadore Allende, the Chilean president who died during a 1973 coup. A ground beetle, this bug was first found in Chile in the 1970s.

7. AGRA SCHWARZENEGGERI // ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

Nit-pickers can argue Schwarzenegger was technically not yet a politician when this beetle was discovered in 2002 [PDF]—he was still a year away from winning a special election to become governor of California. But how could we leave out this species who earned its name because of its "markedly developed (biceps-like) middle femora"?

8. PHEIDOLE ROOSEVELTI // THEODORE ROOSEVELT

Pheidole roosevelti, or "Roosevelt's ant," was discovered in Fiji in 1921 by W.M. Mann. In his report [PDF], Mann says he named the species after "the late Col. Theodore Roosevelt," though its "feebly convex sides" are nothing like the stout former president.

9-12. HELLINSIA AGUILERAI, ALFAROI, MORENOI, AND SUCREI // JAIME ROLDOS AGUILERA, JOSÉ ELOY ALFARO DELGADO, GABRIEL GARCÍA MORENO, AND ANTONIO JOSÉ DE SUCRE

A slew of new moth species were found in Ecuador and classified in 2011 [PDF], and the scientists who discovered them gave each a title tied to the region's history: Hellinsia aguilerai is named for Ecuadorian President Jaime Roldos Aguilera, who died in a plane crash in 1981; H. alfaro is named after another Ecuadorian president, Jose Eloy Alfaro Delgado, who was assassinated in 1912; H. morenoi is for Gabriel García Moreno, assassinated in 1875; and H. sucrei is classified in honor of Antonio José de Sucre, the second president of Bolivia, cited in the entomologists' abstract as someone "crucial in achieving the freedom of several South American countries."

13-15. AGATHIDIUM BUSHI, CHENYI, AND RUMSFELDI // GEORGE W. BUSH, DICK CHENEY, AND DONALD RUMSFELD

Drawing by Frances Fawcett // Cornell.edu

These three species of slime-mold beetles were discovered in 2005 by entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly B. Miller, who chose to name them after George W. Bush, his vice president, and his secretary of defense. The beetles feed on fungilike mold, and Wheeler wrote that he named them after the politicians because they "have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular." Bush called Wheeler to thank him, saying he was "honored."

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© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
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Animals
Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Hires Puppy to Sniff Out Art-Munching Bugs
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
© Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Some dogs are qualified to work at hospitals, fire departments, and airports, but one place you don’t normally see a pooch is in the halls of a fine art museum. The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston is changing that: As The Boston Globe reports, a young Weimaraner named Riley is the institution’s newest volunteer.

Even without a background in art restoration, Riley will be essential in maintaining the quality of the museum's masterpieces. His job is to sniff out the wood- and canvas-munching pests lurking in the museum’s collection. During the next few months, Riley will be trained to identify the scents of bugs that pose the biggest threat to the museum’s paintings and other artifacts. (Moths, termites, and beetles are some of the worst offenders.)

Some infestations can be spotted with the naked eye, but when that's impossible, the museum staff will rely on Riley to draw attention to the problem after inspecting an object. From there, staff members can examine the piece more closely and pinpoint the source before it spreads.

Riley is just one additional resource for the MFA’s existing pest control program. As far as the museum knows, it's rare for institutions facing similar problems to hire canine help. If the experiment is successful, bug-sniffing dogs may become a common sight in art museums around the world.

[h/t The Boston Globe]

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50 of America’s Most Bed Bug-Infested Cities
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It’s easy to find advice on dealing with bed bug infestations, but most people would rather avoid encounters with the parasites in the first place. There are a few ways to do this, from staying at trustworthy hotels to resisting the urge to take in furniture you find on the street. But which part of the country you choose to rest your head can also determine your chances of running into the pests. Before planning your next trip, refer to the list below.

As Condé Nast Traveler reports, these cities come from Orkin’s annual list of the top 50 bed bug cities in America. The pest control company pulled their data from the number of bed bug treatments executed between December 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017. These results cover residential buildings like apartments and houses as well as hotels and motels.

Bed bug infestations are on the rise across the country, according to Orkin entomologist Dr. Tim Husen, but the problem is more apparent in some cities than others. Baltimore tops the list for the second year in a row, followed by Washington D.C. and Chicago. Los Angeles, New York, and Dallas also break the top 10.

A quick glance at the list shows that no part of the country is safe from the unwelcome bedfellows. That doesn’t mean the solution is to sterilize your home and never step outside again: Just be aware if you're living in or a visiting a city with high rates of bed bugs and take the appropriate level of caution. When sleeping in a new bed, no matter what city it’s in, it’s always a good idea to check the mattress first. Pull back the sheets and scan the crevices for blood, eggs, droppings, and the bugs themselves. And if you’re not sure what bed bugs look like, this guide should give you an idea.

Here is the full list:

1. Baltimore

2. Washington, D.C.

3. Chicago

4. Los Angeles

5. Columbus, Ohio

6. Cincinnati, Ohio

7. Detroit

8. New York

9. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

10. Dallas-Fort Worth

11. Indianapolis, Indiana

12. Philadelphia

13. Atlanta

14. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio

15. Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina

16. Richmond-Petersburg, Virginia

17. Houston

18. Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Virginia

19. Charlotte, North Carolina

20. Buffalo, New York

21. Knoxville, Tennessee

22. Nashville, Tennessee

23. Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Michigan

24. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

25. Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina-Asheville, North Carolina

26. Champaign-Springfield-Decatur, Illinois

27. Phoenix

28. Denver

29. Milwaukee

30. Hartford-New Haven, Connecticut

31. Charleston-Huntington, West Virginia

32. Boston

33. Syracuse, New York

34. Dayton, Ohio

35. St. Louis, Missouri

36. Seattle

37. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale

38. Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, Michigan

39. Omaha, Nebraska

40. Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Dubuque, Iowa

41. San Diego, California

42. Lexington, Kentucky

43. Honolulu, Hawaii

44. Louisville, Kentucky

45. Las Vegas

46. Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, North Carolina

47. New Orleans, Louisiana

48. Myrtle Beach-Florence, South Carolina

49. Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida

50. Albany-Schenectady-Troy, New York

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

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