Ento-musings from the University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Saturday, February 6, 2010

How much would you pay to name a species?

by Kelton Welch, UK Entomology Graduate Student

I just read this archived article on ScienceDaily.com. Some researchers in Mexico auctioned off the rights to name a new species of butterfly. An anonymous donor paid $40,000 on behalf of a family from Ohio to name it after that family’s deceased grandmother.

Now, having a species named after you is a great honor; but $40,000 is a lot of money, even though, in this case, it was for a good cause (funding butterfly research in Mexico). Remember that this is a butterfly: an ant or tiger beetle would be considerably cheaper. You could probably get a blow fly or stink bug for two digits.

How much would you pay for the right to name a favorite type of insect or other arthropod?

I would rather become a taxonomist: they actually make money to name things.


  1. Another connection between capitalism and science. Kind of like ecotourism, I guess. Not sure if this is good for science or not.

  2. This reminds me of one of my favorite Colbert Report moments, when arachnid taxonimst Jason Bond at Eastern Carolina University named a trap-door spider after Stephen Colbert!

  3. I'd forgotten about Colbert's trap-door spider