Monday 25 March 2019

Ten things named after US President Obama

US president Barack Obama was speaking to a military academy
US president Barack Obama was speaking to a military academy

Anita McSorley

Offaly petrol station; rare white tiger cub; a mountain; a hairworm

Most American presidents get things named after them after their time in office, but Barack Obama is no ordinary American president.

Already he has leant his name to such things as a fungus, a parasite and now the ‘Barack Obama Plaza’, which is set to open in Moneygall on Friday.

We take a look at 10 things named after the current President of the United States.

1. Petrol station

2011 was a big year for Offaly when it welcomed home it’s most famous son, current US President Barack Obama.

Three years on, they have erected the ‘Barack Obama Plaza’ to immortalise the birthplace of his ancestors.

The rest stop between Dublin and Limerick, which is due to open on Friday, will feature the largest Supermacs in Ireland, along with a shop, petrol facilities and free wifi.


2. Hairworms

The ’paragordius obamai’ are all-female parasitic hairworms that are able to reproduce without a male as they produce viable eggs. But why are they named after Obama? Apparently the parasite is named in honour of the US President because they were discovered near where his father was raised in Kenya.

3. Spider

An ‘Aptostichus barackobamai’ is a trapdoor spider found in California. The spider builds a protective shield and hides behind it before attacking prey. It was one of 33 new ‘aptosticus’ species discovered in December 2012 and it wasn’t the only one inspired by pop culture. Another species was named ‘A. Bonoi’, after U2 front man Bono.

4. A rare white tiger cub

Earlier this month, five rare white Bengal tiger cubs were born at a zoo in Austria. Four are females, and the lone male was named Obama for an unknown reason. The zoo owner told ABC News that he had no idea why the boy tiger was named Obama.

5. Streets

There are streets named after President Obama all over America. There are currently six named after him in the states of Chicago, Florida, California and Illinois. In Tanzania, there is a road in the city of Dar es Salaam that was renamed in honour of Obama’s visit to the country in July 2013.

6. A fungus

In April 2009, a researcher at the University of California found a new lichen species, which is a kind of fungi, and named it ‘Caloplaca obamae’. The researcher apparently named it after Obama to show his appreciation for the president’s support of science and science education.

7. A Mountain

Boggy Peak in Antigua was renamed ‘Mount Obama’ in 2009 on the birthday of Barack Obama. It’s the highest point in the nation of Antigua and Barbuda on the island of Antigua.

8. A colourful fish

Five new species of colourful fish were discovered in November 2012, and named after Democratic presidents who were committed to environmental protection. The ‘Etheostoma obama’ is a bright orange fish speckled with blue marks. They are known for their ability to zip around, under and into rocks and rest on the beds of clean, fast-moving waterways.

9. Schools

All over America, there are schools named after President Obama. There are 12 schools in the states of California, Maryland, Missouri, Minnesota, New Jersey,  New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Winconsin named after him.

10. An extinct Lizard

After Obama won his re-election in December 2012, scientists at Yale named a newly-discovered extinct lizard species ‘Obamadon’. It’s the only prehistoric reptile ever to be named after a sitting president. The lizard is a foot long and has very tall, straight teeth. Apparently scientists waited until after his election to announce the name, because they didn’t want Obama to think they were calling him extinct if he lost.

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