Conservation news

Relative of ‘penis snake’ amphibian named after Donald Trump

  • EnviroBuild, a construction materials company based in the U.K., paid $25,000 for naming rights to the amphibian in a charity auction benefiting the Rainforest Trust, a conservation group.
  • EnviroBuild chose the name as a cheeky way to spur awareness about President Trump’s climate policies.
  • Little else was revealed about the new species, including where or when it was discovered.

A newly discovered species of amphibian that is related to the notorious Brazilian ‘penis snake’ has been named after President Donald Trump in a charity auction benefiting the Rainforest Trust, a conservation group that acquires wild lands for protection.

EnviroBuild, a construction materials company based in the U.K., paid $25,000 for naming rights to the amphibian, which lives in Panama. EnviroBuild elected to name the species Dermophis donaldtrumpi.

“The opportunity to name a species is usually reserved for biologists who spend often painstaking years in the field so was too good an opportunity to miss. The name will still have to undergo peer review, something that biologists EnviroBuild have spoken to had stressed the importance of, but multiple species are named after Presidents, and this amphibian will soon join the vulnerable list,” wrote EnviroBuild in a statement on its web site. “EnviroBuild is not an overtly political organization, but we do feel very strongly that everyone should do everything they can to leave the world in a better way than they found it.”

Caecilian with the proposed name of Dermophis donaldtrumpi

EnviroBuild notes that as an amphibian, Demorphus donaldtrumpi is particularly vulnerable to climate change. It is therefore using the name as a cheeky way to spur awareness about President Trump’s climate policies.

“Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese,” stated the company. “As Demorphus donaldtrumpi is an amphibian, it is particularly susceptible to the impacts of climate change and is therefore in danger of becoming extinct as a direct result of its namesake’s climate policies.”

“The amphibians live almost entirely underground, believed to have lost their limbs at least 60 million years ago, as an adaptation to burrowing,” it continued. “Burrowing its head underground helps Donald Trump when avoiding scientific consensus on anthropomorphic climate change and also appointed several energy lobbyists to the Environment Agency, where their job is to regulate the energy industry.”

EnviroBuild’s rendition of Dermophis donaldtrumpi with hair added for effect.

EnviroBuild’s statement went on to unfavorably compare other characteristics of the species metaphorically with the President, including its dermatrophy — eating its own skin for nourishment — and limblessness.

Little else was revealed about the new species, including where or when it was discovered. However due to their reclusive nature — many caecilians spend their lives buried in mud or leaf litter — previously unknown species of caecilians are described on a regular basis from sites around the tropics.

More than 200 species of caecilian have been described by scientists to date, including the Atretochoana eiselti, the giant phallic-looking creature that made international headlines in 2012 when six individuals turned up while engineers were damming a portion of the Madeira River, a tributary of the Amazon.