What would you pay to name a moth? This photo provided by Eric H. Metzler shows a new species of moth, discovered by Metzler, that will be named by the lucky winner of an online auction whose proceeds will benefit the Western National Parks Association, which has funded some of Metzler's research. (Eric H. Metzler via AP)
What would you pay to name a moth?
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An auction on eBay allows the public to make a different kind of purchase as they peruse the used clothing, electronics and war relics on the site. Up for sale: naming rights to an insect.
 
A moth that weighs less than an ounce and measures about an inch was discovered eight years ago at White Sands National Monument in New Mexico by entomologist Eric H. Metzler.
 
The rigorous process to have a new species approved has taken several years. Now Metzler, a volunteer at the park, is ready to give his flying friend a name.
 
That honor is usually bestowed on the person who made the finding.
 
But Metzler wanted to give back to the Western National Parks Association, which has funded some of his research. So he asked the organization to start an online auction for the naming rights and to take the proceeds.
 
"I am not a rich man. And I don't have a lot of money to give to charity. But this is the way I could give them money in the form of service. I could use my brains to help them," Metzler said.
 
The auction went live on eBay and ended Oct. 23. The bidding started at $500.
 
"When are you ever going to have the opportunity to have your own moth named after you?" said Amy Reichgott. She is development manager for the Western National Parks Association.
 
The winner will work with Metzler to Latinize the name. An international organization has to approve the name.
 
Others have auctioned off naming rights with varied success. Last year, Nova Southeastern University auctioned off the naming rights to a newly discovered type of sea lily.
 
The university's public affairs department touted it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The department suggested that it was the perfect holiday gift. It also would help benefit the Florida school's Oceanographic Center.
 
The winner of the auction, a Florida resident, shelled out $6,150. The sea lily hasn't been officially named yet. It's still undergoing a peer-review process, university spokesman Joe Donzelli said.
 
Reichgott knows a moth may be even less appealing than a sea lily. So the organization sent out emails reminding members and others that moths are butterflies without the bright colors that fly at night, not the daytime.
 
"We're trying to break the stigma against the moth. Give the moth a fair shake," she said, laughing.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
How will this moth benefit the Western National Parks Association?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (47)
  • briannec-ste
    10/26/2015 - 04:22 p.m.

    I would change my name if someone would pay me. This is great for the park and charity.

  • maxx-ver
    10/26/2015 - 06:00 p.m.

    I am surprised that it was put on an auction and that some moths are butterflies without bright colors and that they fly at night

  • brandonm-2-bar
    10/26/2015 - 07:07 p.m.

    This moth will benefit the Western National Parks Association, as the money from the bid to name the moth will be donated to the association. I find it interesting that many people are interested in having a plant or animal named after them and would spend money to do so.

  • John0724-YYCA
    10/26/2015 - 08:40 p.m.

    I wouldn't pay at least five hundred dollars to name a moth because it is not like it is going kill you for not naming a name for a moth. Also it is so expensive because all you do is pay a lot of money to name a moth and it starts at five hundred so its boo hoo.

  • ryan0420-yyca
    10/26/2015 - 08:55 p.m.

    That's weird because i don't even like moths first of all also they are ugly. I don't think that it is a good idea to name a moth. I wouldn't waste my money on a moth because it is useless also i wouldn't even have a pet moth it is weird to have a pet that flys around and is a insect.

  • Eric0221-YYCA
    10/26/2015 - 09:49 p.m.

    I think that it will be not good because auctioning just to name a new species of moth might not be good because I think that the person who is auctioning to name a new specie of a moth. I think that the man is trying to give money to charity because I think that the man wants to raise money for the science laboratory.

  • Eugene0808-YYCA
    10/26/2015 - 10:32 p.m.

    I think this is cool because not only do you get to help name a new species, you get to help others with the money that you paid to name it. It is mostly beneficial but it is not like you will be remembered for naming it.
    How will this moth benefit the Western National Parks Association?
    Answer: This moth will benefit the Western National Parks Association because it helps with funds for it.

  • angelinaf-ver
    10/27/2015 - 08:28 a.m.

    I thought this was a very interesting article. I was surprised people would bid money to name an insect. I'm not sure if I would have bid or not but it seems fun- getting to choose the official name of an insect.

  • sierrab-ste
    10/27/2015 - 08:34 a.m.

    There is no way I'd pay money to name a moth. Say you pay money and the moth is named what you decided; if you don't live near where the moth does nobody is going to truly believe you. Everybody is still going to give credit to the guy who found the moth rather than the person who named it so I think there is no point to this.

  • nevaehm-
    10/27/2015 - 01:03 p.m.

    i wouldn't pay anything to name a mooth because I should have the freedom to already name one

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