Just like so many of my exes, President Obama is a parasite. Except, he's smart, kind and a delight. But now a parasite that lives in the blood of turtles has just been named after him.
Thomas Platt, a retired biology professor at Saint Mary's College in Indiana, discovered a flatworm and named it after the president.
The parasite's name, "Baracktrema obamai," is meant to be a nice gesture. The study of the new parasite was published in the Journal of Parasitology.
Platt describes the parasite, saying,
It's long. It's thin. And it's cool as hell... [It's a] phenomenally incredibly resilient organisms.
Platt discovered the flatworm before he retired, on top of discovering 30 new species in his career.
He has named these parasites after his father-in-law, a doctorate adviser and other people he has respect for. He said,
This is clearly something in my small way done to honor our president.
In fact, on top of Platt being a distant relative of the president, he comments that a number of people have paid a lot of money just to have a species named after them.
Platt said of the parasite named after Obama,
I hold them in awe and with phenomenal respect.
The worm is related to a parasite that can cause disease in humans, but it does not harm turtles.
Michael Sukhedo, the editor of the Journal of Parasitology, says that on top of being cool, parasites are important to life. Seven out of 10 animals on Earth are parasites.
While it is rare, parasites have also been named as a form of revenge.
Once, a biologist named a group of parasites "microphallus" after her ex-husband, which we assume... means what it sounds like.
In this case, as it usually is, they are named out of respect. Obama has a spider, a fish and a lizard named after him already.