An ongoing eBay auction launched by the Western National Parks Association (WNPA) is giving users the chance to name a new moth species.
The tiny insect was discovered by famous entomologist Eric H. Metzler at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico, back in 2007. As its discoverer reveals, the moth measures around an inch, and weighs less than an ounce.
The research scientist actually identified more than 2 dozen new moth species in that area stretching across 275 square miles. As the naming process for these insects got delayed, he decided that he would use one of these finds in order to help create the perfect denomination, and also assist the WNPA, where he works as a volunteer.
This is how an online auction was started on Saturday, with the purpose of awarding naming rights to the lucky bidder. The bidding started at $250, and is scheduled to end on October 23.
As the moth’s discoverer revealed, all the proceeds will be directed to the foundation, which will be the sole beneficiary.
“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”, explained Metzler.
The auction winner will get the opportunity to work with the scientist in order to provide the month with an official name, while taking into account standard Latin taxonomy.
Afterwards, the name will have to be reviewed and approved by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature. Following this process, the final title will always be attributable to that highest bidder, and recognized by scientists from all corners of the world.
WNPA development management Amy Reichgott has been highly appreciative of Metzler’s initiative, and also encouraged people to join the bid, since it’s not every day that they can have an insect named after them.
Surprisingly or not, this isn’t the first time that such a peculiar bidding process took place on the popular online auction platform.
Normally, new species have to be named by the person who actually made their discovery possible, but in 2014 Nova Southeastern University started a similar auction, in order to allow users to choose how a new sea lily would be called.
The winner spent $6,150 in order to be granted this honor, but according to university representatives the marine animal hasn’t yet been named, because a peer review hasn’t been finalized.
The organizers of this new auction are painfully aware of the fact that moths may not be as appealing to the general public as sea lilies. Therefore, they are currently trying to fight against this stigma, by insisting these insects are just like butterflies, except for the fact that they have duller colors and nocturnal habits.
So far, the current top bidder has offered to pay $5,800 for the opportunity to name the small insect. 32 bids have been placed, from 15 bidders, and there are still 4 days and 10 hours left, for those wishing to take part in this unusual competition.
Image Source: eBay