Naming rights auction a 'nightmare'

He fielded questions from "nutters and internet trolls", but a taxonomist selling the naming rights for a crustacean is still hopeful all will work out.

Waikanae taxonomist Dr Graham Bird has listed on TradeMe the naming rights for a new species of marine crustacean that lives off Plimmerton and Worser Bay.

The auction closes at 8pm this evening and has already reached a bid of $350.

But with the naming of a new species a highly specialised and controlled process, Dr Bird has had to fend off questions from people wanting to give the minuscule shrimp-like crustacean a name like 'Skinnymalinki' or 'Smashedembro'.

While the auction was set up as a fundraiser for the Paraparaumu College boys' first XI hockey team, it had become a bit of a nightmare, Dr Bird said.

"I was very reluctant to do this. I don't know why I did it really, because I knew it would end up being a free-for-all for all the nutters and internet trolls out there.

"I've had plenty of positive comments too, but I'm incredibly nervous about what's going to happen."

Once the auction closes, Dr Bird would consult with the winner on their chosen name and present his paper on the crustacean to a journal for peer-review.

The formal naming process of the new species, which Dr Bird said was "quite delicate and cute", could take a number of months.

The intention was that it could be named after a person or given a name with special meaning to the winner, Dr Bird said.

"It could be a positive thing to remember somebody by, and a nice thing to do. Most people are deserving of recognition or approbation of some sort."

Working with the winner to find an appropriate name would be important, as it could be no more than 12 letters, and could not be frivolous, offensive or inappropriate.

"It's still proper science and still has to be right. Some people just don't like playing by the rules."  

Contact Kerry McBride
Metro and Capital Day reporter
Twitter: @kerry_mcbride


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