December 18, 2018 8:15 pm
Updated: December 18, 2018 9:40 pm

Blind amphibian that buries its head in the ground named after Donald Trump

EnviroBuild imagines U.S. President Donald Trump's hair and eyebrows on a close-up of the newly discovered amphibian Dermophis donaldtrumpi.


A newly discovered amphibian has been named after U.S. President Donald Trump after parallels were drawn between its behaviour and Trump’s stance on climate change.

Story continues below

Dermophis donaldtrumpi is a limbless, worm-like amphibian that lives underground in Panama and falls under the caecilian category of tropical amphibians. Its name was selected by EnviroBuild, a U.K.-based supplier of sustainable building materials that forked out $25,000 to secure naming rights for the creature.

The naming auction was organized to raise money for the Rainforest Trust, a New York-based environmental organization.

READ MORE: Trump just hinted that cold weather disproves global warming. Here’s why he’s wrong

EnviroBuild says the name choice was appropriate because the serpentine amphibian displays a range of behaviours reminiscent of the president.

For one, its eyes are rather rudimentary and can only detect light or dark. “Capable of seeing the world only in black and white, Donald Trump has claimed that climate change is a hoax by the Chinese,” EnviroBuild said.

The creature also has a habit of burrowing its head underground, which EnviroBuild said is akin to Trump figuratively hiding his head in the sand and refusing to accept the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.

READ MORE: Al Gore says Trump tried to ‘bury’ climate change report by releasing it on Black Friday

The 10-centimetre-long worm is equipped with tentacles that it uses to find prey.

That’s a trait which EnviroBuild says reminded it of a quote by former U.S. federal prosecutor Juliette Kayem, who told Vanity Fair in August that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion “has tentacles we have no idea about.”

WATCH: A timeline of Robert Mueller’s Russia probe

EnviroBuild also said in a release that while Demorphus donaldtrumpi is generally grey in colour, other caecilians are known to display other colours, “even orange.”

“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,” it added.

Dermophis donaldtrumpi photographed next to a ruler for scale.


Jibes aside, EnviroBuild said it hoped the presidential name choice would spread awareness about what it said was the Trump administration’s regression on environmental issues.

It pointed to the U.S. joining hands with Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait at the recent COP24 climate change summit to vote against accepting the findings of a landmark report warning of the catastrophic consequences of climate change.

“It was saddening to see another year without significant progress at the most recent round of COP talks, COP24 in Katowice [in Poland],” the company said in a release. “Further progress on the essential technical elements was blocked by the unusual alliance of USA, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait who also blocked the adoption of a key scientific report.”

READ MORE: U.S., Russia and Saudi Arabia block major UN climate report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on what would happen if average global temperatures rise by 1.5 Celsius, and how to ensure they don’t go higher, was widely regarded as a wake-up call for policy-makers when it was released in October.

WATCH: UN secretary-general calls for swift action, says ‘we are in deep trouble’ with climate change

“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,” the company said.

The Dermophis donaldtrumpi name will have to undergo peer review before it’s officially adopted, but EnviroBuild pointed out that several other species have been named after presidents.

“It is the perfect name,” said EnviroBuild co-founder Aidan Bell. “‘Caecilian’ is taken from the Latin caecus, meaning ‘blind,’ perfectly mirroring the strategic vision President Trump has consistently shown towards climate change.”

— With a file from the Associated Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.