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WATCH: New microbe species discovered in guts of termites named after Rush

Rush (l) and termite gut microbe (r) © Getty Images / Keeling Lab

Rush have been bestowed with the honour of having three new species of microbe found in the guts of termites named after them.

The snappily titled Pseudotrichonympha leei, Pseudotrichonympha lifesoni, and Pseudotrichonympha pearti – named after Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart respectively - are parabasalian protists from the hindgut of termites.

The microbes are covered in more than ten thousand very long flagella, which are long threads that cells use to move around, giving them the appearance of having luscious flowing hair, much like Rush in the seventies.  

As well as having long hair, the microbes also move their bodies in rhythmic pulses.

In a video introducing the new species, Keeling Lab wrote: “These giant cells caught our eye because they are covered in a luxurious coat of particularly long hairs, or flagella, reminiscent of the long-haired publicity shot of the power trio on the back cover of 2112.

“Added to that, the cells move and dance and bob their heads under the microscope with frequent time signature changes.”


If parabasalian protists from the hindgut of termites float your boat, you can read the entire paper on their discovery right here.

Earlier this year, the three offspring of wandering capybaras Bonnie and Clyde at High Park Zoo in Toronto were named Alex, Geddy and Neil in homage to the Canadian progressive rock heroes.

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