New species of microbes named after Rush

Rush in 1979
Rush in 1979 (Image credit: Getty)

Three new species of microbe found in the guts of termites have been named after the members of Rush.

Researchers at the University Of British Columbia have decided to call the trio P. leei, P. lifesoni and P. pearti after bassist and vocalist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart, due to the organisms’ “long hair” and “rhythmic wriggling.”

Microbiologist and author of the paper describing the new species, Patrick Keeling says: “A Spanish postdoc, Javier del Campo, asked me to recommend some good Canadian music, and I suggested he listen to Rush.

“He came back to me and said, ‘Those microbes we’re finding have long hair like the guys on the album 2112!’”

The microbes are covered with flagella – long threads that cells use to move around, with each species having more than 10,000 flagella “giving them flowing hair.”

They are said to bob and sway in microscopic dances, which led the researchers to name them after the Canadian trio.

The organism named after Peart is said to contain “a rotating intracellular structure never seen before” which researchers have named ‘rotatosome.’

Keeling adds: “We have looked at a lot of crazy cells in my lab, and none of us has ever seen anything like this.”

To mark the discovery, the university have released a video document the discoveries, accompanied by Rush classic YYZ. Watch it below.

Earlier this year, a species of pistol shrimp was named Synalpheus pinkfloydi after Pink Floyd by Arthur Anker of the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, Kristin Hultgren of Seattle University and Sammy De Grave of Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.