You Can Bid to Name a New Moth Species on eBay

Eric Metzler/eBay
Eric Metzler/eBay / Eric Metzler/eBay

It’s hard enough brainstorming a name for a new pet, let alone a new species. However, an auction on eBay is allowing bidders to vie for the naming rights to a recently discovered insect—an inch-long moth.

Entomologist Eric H. Metzler found the as-yet-unnamed winged creature eight years ago at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Typically, the person who identifies a new species is the one who names it. But since Metzler’s research was partly funded by the Western National Parks Association, he wanted to give back to the organization. He asked the nonprofit to launch an eBay auction for the naming rights and told them they could keep the money.

“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,” Metzler told the Associated Press.

The auction began last Saturday and will run until October 23. Bidding started at $500, but as of Tuesday morning it had already jumped to $7,200. However, the auction's winner can’t just choose any old name for the moth, the BBC points out. Their suggestion will have to be Latinized, go through an approval process, and follow guidelines imposed by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.

[h/t Associated Press]