When scientists discover a new species, they are allowed to make up its binomial (Latin) name. This results in interesting names, like , a horse fly that was named after Beyonce, or Laboulbenia quarantenae, which got its name because it was discovered during quarantine. Scientists from Aberystwyth University in Wales, UK, decided to keep it simple and . The only problem: it was found in , giving this species the name Myxococcus llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochensis.
Myxobacteria are slime bacteria that mostly live in the soil and have particularly large genomes. By studying those genomes found in soil samples, David Whitworth and his team identified five new species. These species are interesting because they create many different chemicals, including some that which are potential antibiotics.
In their study published in Genome Biology and Evolution, the scientists searched the genome of the myxobacteria for gene clusters producing and found that more than two-thirds of them were new gene clusters that had not been found before. This makes these species great candidates for finding new bioactive components that can be used to create new drugs and other useful substances.
The scientists named another one of the species they found after its location: Pyxidicoccus caerfyrddinensis, which was found in Caerfyrddin. The other three species got the names M. vastator (meaning ‘ravager’), M. eversor (meaning ‘destroyer’), and P. trucidator (meaning ‘slaughterer’), named for their hunting abilities. All pretty badass names, if you ask me!