New Species Of Snake Named After Metallica’s James Hetfield

Scientists have named a new species of venomous snake “Atheris hetfieldi” in honor of Metallica’s James Hetfield. The organism is an African Bush Viper that was discovered at the base of a volcano on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea. The species is characterised by “a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance.”

Leading scientist Dr. Luis Ceríaco said the following about the snake during an interview with Metal Hammer:

“Both me and Mariana Marques, the second author of the paper, are big fans of Metallica and James Hetfield since a very young age. We wanted to honor him, as a thank you for all the good vibes his music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers. Also, we think that a mysterious venomous and cool looking snake, who lives in the base of a volcano lost in the middle of the tropical forest is very relatable to heavy metal! On another hand, naming a new species after someone as James brings more attention to the much needed biodiversity studies and field surveys. We are in race against the extinction of a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity, and many species may go extinct before we even know they exist!”

He also added the following when asked how one goes about naming a new species after a rockstar:

“It is quite straightforward! As long as your paper is accepted in a scientific journal, after being reviewed by our scientific peers, the naming part is completely up to the author’s choice. We only have to abide by certain terminological rules ruled by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. If that is followed, you can name it after anything you want – the specific habitat where the species occurs, any morphological character, a rock star, another scientist, a fictional character… anything!”

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Atheris hetfieldi, the newly discovered bush viper species, from Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea! I had the honour of being the first to illustrate this new species, named after James Hetfield, frontman of Metallica, by the incredible team of Portuguese and American scientists led by Dr. Luis Ceríaco! The scientific paper can be accessed here: https://www.biotaxa.org/Zootaxa/article/view/zootaxa.4838.4.9?fbclid=IwAR39ymr1u4dQPkq3sKqkXi15ionvcNsCbPB6sMdWPab_xwu5j6IWJ1HDNN0 And you can read some magazine articles here: https://metalhammer.pt/atheris-hetfieldi/ https://www.loudersound.com/news/a-species-of-venomous-snake-has-been-named-after-james-hetfield http://blitz.pt/principal/update/2020-08-28-Investigadores-portugueses-dao-o-nome-do-vocalista-dos-Metallica-a-nova-serpente-africana . . . . . . . . #newspecies #atheris #biodiversity #taxonomy #zootaxa #herpetology #metallica #metallicanfans #metallicafamily #heavymetal #atherishetfieldi #illustration #digitalart #scientificillustration #ilustração #nature #natureza

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