There are many ways of honoring a person and one of them is to name a place, a product or a street after his or her name. But in this case, it is a bit different. Parasitologist Thomas Platt has named a parasite after President Barack Obama. Baracktrema Obamai is not only a new species but a whole new genus, as the report in Journal of Parasitology suggests.
This two-inch long parasite lives in the blood of the black marsh turtles and the Southeast Asian box turtles that are found in Malaysia. Scientists are studying the characteristics of turtle parasites to find out more information about the disease called Schistosomiasis which takes lives of millions of people every year.
You might be thinking how can someone name a parasite after a revered person like the President? And that too when the parasite is so harmful! But the scientists have a different opinion. They are saying that they admire the way Baracktrema Obamai lives in such menacing environment. They penetrate into the blood vessels of the turtles and lay eggs there.
Thomas Platt is a scientist who has been studying the parasites for decades, has discovered this new parasite just before his retirement from St Mary’s College in Notre Dame. He has named several parasites after his friends and relatives. But this time, he named this parasite after Barack Obama because according to him, “It’s long. It’s thin. And it’s cool as hell.” These parasites “are phenomenally incredibly resilient organisms. I hold them in awe and with phenomenal respect.”
However, this is not the first time a parasite is being named after the 44th US President. There is a hairworm named Paragordius Obamai which was found near Kenya where the president’s father was raised.
Not just that, a fish, a trapdoor spider, and an extinct Lizard have also been named after the President of the United States.
Well, let’s see what the presidents says about this!