New Species of "Silky" Ant Named After Radiohead
Published Apr 24, 2017In a month where Pink Floyd had a new species of shrimp named after them, fellow countrymen Radiohead have had a new species of fungus-farming ants named in their honour.
As Phys.org reports, Ana Ješovnik and Ted R. Schultz from the Smithsonian Institution's Ant Lab in Washington, DC, discovered three separate species of ant when studying specimens across Central and South America. One collected in the Venezuelan Amazon was named Sericomyrmex radioheadi after the band.
"We wanted to honour their music" Ješovnik told the publication. "But more importantly, we wanted to acknowledge the conservation efforts of the band members, especially in raising climate-change awareness."
The site explains that the Sericomyrmex radioheadi are relatives of leaf-cutter ants. 'Sericomyrmex' literally translates as 'silky ants,' referring to the fine, crystal-like white layer that covers the bodies of female ants. At present, it is unknown what function the layer serves.