Blind, Worm-Like Creature That Buries Head in Dirt Named After Trump

When you want to make a statement by officially naming a newly discovered species, what do you do? Well, if you’re naming a worm-like amphibian that is blind, limbless and likes to bury its head in the sand, it’s a no-brainer.

You name the species after Donald Trump.

That’s exactly what EnviroBuild paid $25,000 to do. The London-based sustainable building materials company secured the winning bid in a species naming auction as part of a Rainforest Trust fundraiser.

On December 8, 2018, Rainforest Trust auctioned off the naming rights to 12 newly discovered species — four frogs, four orchids, a forest mouse, a trap-jaw ant, a salamander and a caecilian.

And, surprisingly, it’s the caecilian that’s got the internet in a frenzy.

Caecilians — Latin for “blind ones” — are tropical amphibians that look like large worms. They have no limbs, but instead have two small tentacles on their heads. They live underground, preferring to burrow into soft dirt. Inside their mouths are dozens of sharp teeth for eating insects, worms and other amphibians.

EnviroBuild’s $25,000 bid was the highest one of the entire Rainforest Trust Species Legacy Auction. It bought them the right to name the new caecilian Dermophis donaldtrumpi.

It’s not unusual for new species to be named for politicians or celebrities. Indeed, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Prince Charles, John Cleese, Hugh Hefner, Bob Marley and even Beyonce have creatures named for them. Usually, it’s somewhat of an honor; this time, not so much.

Why did EnviroBuild choose to name this caecilian after Donald Trump? EnviroBuild co-founder Aidan Bell explained exactly why the attributes of this species remind him so much of the U.S. president:

  • Blindness – “Capable of seeing the world only in black and white, Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese.”
  • Burrowing head underground – “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.”
  • Growth of outer skin layer that caecilian young peel off their mother and eat – “As a method of ensuring their children survive in life, Donald Trump prefers granting them high roles in the Oval Office.”
  • Tentacles – “’This Thing Has Tentacles We Have No Idea About’ was said by Juliette Kayyem, a former federal prosecutor and a Homeland Security official in the Obama administration talking special council Mueller’s investigation into alleged interference of Russia in US elections.”
  • Limbless – “Being entirely limbless it is hard to determine whether caecilians have proportionate hands and their shiny skin is ringed with skin folds called annuli, generally grey, but with other genus’ often displaying more colour, even orange.”

Humor aside, Bell noted that the Demorphus donaldtrumpi, an amphibian, “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 Rainforest Trust took in an impressive $184,000 during its auction. Those funds will further its mission to purchase and protect threatened rainforests and save endangered wildlife through community engagement and local partnerships.

“Realizing the similarities between the amazing but unknown creature and the leader of the free world, we couldn’t resist buying the rights in your president’s honor,” Bell told The Washington Post.

Nicely done, EnviroBuild.

Ultimately, Bell’s company used the publicity surrounding this naming auction to wave a red flag to the world about the dangers of ignoring climate science. We’re losing 70,000 acres of rainforest every day, according to the Rainforest Trust. And those forests are not infinite. They don’t grow back overnight.

The day is coming — sooner than we’d believe possible — when we’ll no longer have the ability to turn the tide. Some fear we’re already there. We must take action now and hope to hell they’re wrong.

What action, exactly? How about voting in some leaders who acknowledge the reality of climate change and commit to doing something about it immediately?

Get active in the 2020 campaign. We need a leader with brains, courage and humility. Surely there’s one such person out there to lead the charge.

Photo credit: Getty Images


Gino C
Past Member 2 months ago

thanks for sharing

Ann B
Ann B2 months ago

Did the world forget RESPECT?????

Sophie A
Sophie A2 months ago


Stacy S
Stacy S2 months ago

Incredibly cruel thing to do to the worm/ I would say that since it's brainless I guess it can't actually be insulted... except somehow its namesake manages.

Ciaron D
Ciaron Drain2 months ago

The Amphibian is actually in danger of extinction due to Donald Trump's actions and policies now that is the real irony as well as tragedy.

Julia R
Julia R2 months ago

I can't think of a better name for this worm! Especially since he buries his head in the dirt. That certainly describes Trump!

Emma L
Emma L2 months ago

thank you

Leo C
Leo Custer2 months ago

Thank you for posting!

Sheila M
Sheila Miller2 months ago

To name the worm after Trump is an insult to the worm. The worm has never done anything to people and should not be named after a person like Trump. Rename the worm.

Teresa W
Teresa W2 months ago

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