Here’s a new way to have your named something named a species named after you without you having discovered it. You pay for it. You could get a new species of nudibranch, which is a pleasantly plump hermaphrodite mollusk with bright orange speckles named after you for $15,000 USD. Doesn’t take your fancy? Oh, come on! Be adventurous! And how is all of this coming to be? Well, UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla is offering the chance to name about a dozen newly discovered species for a tax-deductible donation. Bids start at $5,000. The money will benefit the Scripps Oceanographic Collections, a massive repository of ocean life and rock samples collected over the past 100 years. Curators have been scrambling to keep the collections afloat since losing state funding six years ago. The collections are used by students and researchers here and around the world.
And these guys aren’t the only ones in this “naming” business. Last year, Monaco’s Oceanographic Museum sold the naming rights to a new shark species at a Christie’s auction. Two years earlier, the online gambling site Golden Palace Casino paid the Wildlife Conservation Society to name a new species of Bolivian monkey. So what are you waiting for? Get your own mollusk named after you. Or even better, your own hydrothermal vent worm for $50,000. I’m sure after you’ve paid up and named the worm after you, you’ll start seeing the resemblance!