Parasite Named After Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses as he speaks during a news conference at the Landmark Mekong Riverside Hotel in Vientiane, Laos, Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, after attending the ASEAN Summit. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

A brand new species of parasite, the Baracktrema obamai, has been named after President Barack Obama, according to an article in the Journal of Parasitology.

The co-author of the journal article on the parasite is Obama’s fifth cousin, Thomas R. Platt.

Platt, a retired biology professor who discovered and named the microscopic critter, told the Associated Press the parasite’s anatomy reminds him of the president: “It’s long. It’s thin. And it’s cool as hell.”

The two-inch-long, hair-thin creature has a “post-cecal terminal genitalia” and lives in the blood of two different types of turtles.

“The new genus further differs from all other accepted turtle blood fluke genera by having a cecum that is highly convoluted for its entire length, a spindle-shaped ovary between the cirrus sac and testis, a uterine pouch that loops around the primary vitelline collecting duct, a Laurer’s canal, and a dorsal common genital pore,” Platt and his team of researchers wrote.


Journal of Parasitology

Platt has named 32 new species in his career. And, oddly enough, Obama’s name has been the inspiration behind a number other creatures including a trapdoor spider, a fish, and an ancient lizard named the “Obamadon.”

Follow Jerome Hudson on Twitter: @jeromeehudson.