Scientists name new species of fungus-farming ant after Radiohead

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A new species of ant discovered in the Venezuelan Amazon has been named after Radiohead, Phys.org reports. Ana Ješovnik and Ted R. Schultz from the Smithsonian Institution’s Ant Lab recently discovered three new ant species from the genus Sericomyrmex, and named one species Sericomyrmex radioheadi.

In the study published in ZooKeys, Ješovnik and Schultz write that the naming choice is meant to recognize Radiohead’s “longstanding efforts in environmental activism, especially in raising climate-change awareness, and in honor of their music, which is an excellent companion during long hours at the microscope while conducting taxonomic revisions of ants.”

I’m not sure if I’d want to listen to Radiohead for long hours while staring at ants, but everyone has their own definition of “excellent companion.”


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Photo by Ana Ješovnik

Phys.org notes that these “silky ants” are the “most recently evolved genus of fungus-farming ants,” which could prove useful in the study of evolution and how species diversify. Radiohead (the band) is also not bad at diversifying its sound, although the ants have the advantage of existing for millions more years.

Has anyone told Thom Yorke about this? Let me know if you’re down to start referring to Radiohead’s 2001 album as Antnesiac.

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