New millipede species named after Taylor Swift


April 28, 2022

A newly discovered millipede species was named after Taylor Swift, according to a paper published in ZooKeys.

Dr. Derek Hennen, an entomologist who completed his doctoral degree at Virginia Tech, discovered the species called Nannaria swiftae, or vernacularly, the Swift Twisted-Claw Millipede.

Dr. Hennen shared his discovery on Twitter:

The discovery of the species was part of a paper by Dr. Hennen, along with co-authors Jackson Means and Paul Marek, that identified 17 new species of Twisted-Claw Millipedes from Appalachia. According to the paper, researchers determined the arthropod named for Swift was a unique species because of the millipede’s genetics and “special legs.”

The Swift Twisted-Claw Millipede is a “thank you” from Dr. Hennen to Swift since her music has gotten him through “some rough times,” he told NPR.

As a Swift fan, Dr. Hennen keeps a couple of her CDs in his car that he cycles through. His favorite songs are “New Romantics” and “betty.”

As part of his research, Dr. Hennen traveled to 17 states — including Virginia, the Carolinas, Pennsylvania and New York — in search of millipedes. Often traveling with others, he said he was able to include some of Swift’s music during the drives.

He found the Swift Twisted-Claw Millipede at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee — a state that also marks the beginnings of Swift’s career. As a teenager, Swift moved to Hendersonville, Tenn., to pursue a country music career in Nashville.

Dr. Hennen said the new millipede was found on the side of the road near the state park.

He expects the millipede to be pretty well protected because it’s in a state park. The new millipede was also found in a few other Tennessee counties.


About the Author

Ellen Wagner is a former digital editor for PMP magazine.

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