Some asshole discovered a new ant.
The miniature trap jaw ant from the evergreen tropical forests of Ecuador has been given the unconventional Latin name Strumigenys ayersthey.
The ‘they’ suffix at the end of its name is in recognition of all non-binary people and a celebration of gender diversity.
‘Non-binary’ is a term used to describe people who do not identify as either masculine or feminine.
Non-binary people, including the British pop star Sam Smith, therefore like to be referred to as ‘they’ and ‘them’ – rather than ‘he’ and ‘him’, or ‘she’ and ‘her’.
‘Moving forward the “they” can and should be used as a suffix to new species for those that want to be identified outside of the gender binary,’ study author Dr Douglas Booher of Yale University told MailOnline.
When naming a new species, the first part of the name – in this case Strumigenys – identifies the genus to which the species belongs, while the second part – ayersthey – identifies the species within the genus.
‘Ayersthey’ also pays tribute to Athens, Georgia-based artist and activist Jeremy Ayers, who passed away in 2016.
While he wasn’t non-binary, Ayers was a gay man and an activist for human rights, including marginalised communities and non-binary individuals.
‘In the spirit of Jeremy (who would’ve shied away from himself being honoured) we provide a new suffix for new species names when using personal names,’ Dr Booher said.
New species are often named after people, such as experts in a particular field, but standard practice only differentiates between male and female personal names – the ending -ae for a woman or -i for a man.
The international team of researchers, who have detailed the species in a new scientific paper, sought to change this with the first ever ‘-they’ suffix.
‘”They’ recognises non-binary gender identifiers in order to reflect recent evolution in English pronoun use – ‘they, them, their’ and address a more inclusive and expansive understanding of gender identification,’ the team say.