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Genetic analysis and comparison with other moths enabled the determination that the recently discovered insect represent a new species. The male's "genitalia (are) comparatively smaller" than those seen in another closely related moth. One such part, known as the vinculum posterior margin, is described as being "weakly developed."
Just seven individuals are known of this new tiny moth, so it is already highly endangered. N. donaldtrumpi flies in dune habitats in Southern California and Baja California, Mexico. Its host plant(s) for its larval and earlier life stages remain a mystery, but appear to be in the nightshade family of plants (Solanaceae), which includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, tobacco and also some toxic species.
Nazari said that the moth's dune habitats are under constant pressure from human activity, and especially dune-buggy enthusiasts. In naming the new moth after Trump, Nazari wishes to improve conservation of such landscapes.
"I hope to bring some public attention to the importance of conservation of the fragile habitats in the United States," he said, adding that the dune regions are "under imminent danger of destruction. The incoming administration should make every effort to continue preserving these important ecosystems that still contain undiscovered and undescribed species."
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Note that the new moth is the first living species to be officially named after Trump. In November of last year, a fossil sea urchin, Tetragramma donaldtrumpi, was also named after the President-Elect. That urchin, however, lived during the Lower Cretaceous around 110 million years ago, and is long gone, aside from its fossilized remains.
Unlike the moths, the inch-long sea urchin did not resemble Trump, but instead looked like "a lifesaver candy," according to fossil collector William Thompson of Texas who documented it.