On Monday night, the two candidates running to be president of the United States will square off in the first debate. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are probably after this job for plenty of reasons, but one neat bonus is having new species named after you. A whole bunch of presidents — past and present — have animals and trees that bear their names.
The current commander in chief, Barack Obama, is pretty popular — especially among fish. In 2012, scientists named a freshwater darter that lives in the Tennessee River Etheostoma Obama, and cited Obama’s environmental leadership as influencing the choice. Earlier this month, a saltwater fish discovered in Hawaii was named after Obama because its dorsal fin coloration was reminiscent of his campaign logo. (The scientists who found the fish also wanted to honor Obama’s expansion of a local protected marine area; they’ll release the official name in December.)
Obama’s not alone in this Linnaean honor, though — many other animal and plant species have presidential names.
Slime-mold beetle Agathidium bushi
This new species of beetle was christened in 2005 after then-President George W. Bush. The name was chosen by two former Cornell University entomologists, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller, who also named two other types of beetle after then-Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. A. bushi, which feeds on molds, lives in southern Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia. Wheeler said that A. bushi and the others were so called "to pay homage to the US leaders." Bush later called Wheeler and said he was honored.
Roosevelt’s ant, also called Pheidole roosevelti
This type of ant was discovered in Fiji in 1921 by William M. Mann, a famous entomologist and zoologist who was one of the directors of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Mann traveled the world for his research, collecting live animals for the zoo and finding new species along the way. One of these species was the Pheidole roosevelti, named after "the late Col. Theodore Roosevelt," Mann wrote in his report. Pheidole is the most diverse ant genus in the world, with 20 species in Fiji alone.
Beaded darter, also called Etheostoma clinton
This freshwater fish — named after former president Bill Clinton — was discovered in 2012 alongside other darters that were named for Obama, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Theodore Roosevelt. Clinton was picked for the honor because of his environmental efforts. Etheostoma clinton, which can grow juts over 1.3 inches, is found only in the upper Caddo and upper Ouachita Rivers of Arkansas. It’s also called the beaded darter because its coloration resembles a string of beads.
One more for Obama! This small, insect-eating lizard from the Cretaceous period was named in 2012 after the president by Yale and Harvard scientists. The name combines "Obamadon," for "Obama's teeth," and "gracilis," Latin for slender. "The lizard has these very tall, straight teeth and Obama has these tall, straight incisors and a great smile," Nick Longrich, a paleontologist at Yale, told Reuters at the time. Longrick, who said he supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 Democratic primaries, told Reuters he had considered "Clintondon" for the prehistoric lizard, but the name didn’t sound good.