June 16, 2021


We know our pets

Michael Stipe Can help Name Ant Species Just after Andy Warhol Celebrity

A German entomologist and a study associate at Yale College, with some help from R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, have named a new ant species Strumigenys ayersthey, just after Charles “Jeremy” Ayers, the artist and political activist who was component of Andy Warhol’s legion of “Superstars” as the gender-bending Silva Thin.

The tale was documented this week in the scientific study publication EurekAlert!

Soon after entomologist Phillip Hoenle uncovered the ant in a rainforest in Ecuador, he sent a specimen to Douglas B. Booher, a investigate associate in the Yale Middle for Biodiversity and Worldwide Alter and the Office of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, to verify if it was truly a new species. Right after making the affirmation, Booher arrived at out to Stipe, a shut friend of the late Ayers, to receive his blessing for the new name.

The son of a civil rights advocate and a faith professor at the University of Ga, Ayers became a element of Warhol’s New York Town crew in the early Seventies, undertaking in drag as Slender with exaggerated female options, a silk shirt and tie, and a trademark cigarette. Ayers was also a prominent songwriter, and by the late Seventies, he had returned to Athens, Georgia, where by he assisted foster a lively music and arts scene and co-wrote music for R.E.M., the B-52’s, and far more.

Later on in everyday living, Ayers done in “Jeremy’s Dance,” a movie art piece by Stipe. The set up was revealed at Moogfest 2016, shortly just after Ayers suddenly died from a seizure at the age of 68.

“His curiosity for every one person he ever achieved was the basis of a interesting and cross-cultural network of good friends, acquaintances, and colleagues, often with Jeremy at the really centre of a number of overlapping colonies,” Stipe informed EurekAlert!. “He established the salon, laid the trails he was the connector, the queen ant if you will, the bringer-togetherer.”

Booher himself had been a element of the Athens scene in the early Nineties, after earning his bachelor’s diploma in ecology at the University of Georgia. Instead than pursue a Ph.D., he alternatively became a local creating contractor, and for the following 12 many years ran his possess flooring firm in Athens even though moonlighting as a DJ and club dancer on the weekends. He even participated in a dance video filmed in Ayers’ backyard, and in turn, the previous Superstar helped foster Booher’s fascination with entomology.

“He realized I beloved insects and he experienced not too long ago purchased a e book on the Chinese tradition of retaining crickets for their sounds,” Booher said, describing how Ayers showed him and Stipe the book 1 night. “He was also endlessly fascinated with mother nature. He realized it would deliver me joy. … He gave people today the independence to be who they needed to be.”

Booher finally accomplished his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology in the early 2010s and found work at the Yale Centre for Biodiversity and World Modify as a postdoctoral affiliate. When deciding on the name for the new ant species, he and Hoenle thought of the title Strumigenys ayers, but determined to select a Latin identify that would honor individuals throughout the gender spectrum, adopting the new suffix -they.

“Naming species in honor of persons is a hundreds of years-aged tradition amongst taxonomists,” Hoenle reported. “To honor an individual indicates to respect their self-identification, and gender is component of that.”

Booher included: “I knew Jeremy, and realized of no other human that much better represented the pan and inclusive world of human beings. He was also a lover of biodiversity, so it just seemed to suit.”