A new species of moth has been found in the Appalachian Mountains, and scientists have decided to name it after a Cherokee chief. Called Cherokeea attakullakulla, the name is a reference to Attakullakulla, a Cherokee chief who lived in that region in the 1700s.

The moth was first recorded in 1958, when Dr. John G. Franclemont, a professor at Cornell University, was studying some insects he collected in North Carolina. He noticed a few specimens appeared different than the rest, but did not realize he was dealing with a whole new species at the time.

Four decades later, however, the moth was recorded again. This time, biologist Dr. J. Bolling Sullivan III noticed the insects when he was working in mountainous regions of the state. Once again it was not entirely realized that a new species had been found.

Recently though, Sullivan partnered up with retired entomologist Dr. Eric Quinter, who had been studying this particular group of moths for decades. The two scientists were able to finally name the new species, over 50 years after it was first documented.

They chose the name Cherokeea attakullakulla to honor the Cherokee nation and Chief Attakullakulla. He was a diplomat for the Cherokee, traveling as far as England to fight for his people’s rights. He became the tribe’s First Beloved Man, which meant he was the leader of negotiations with Europe.

“Fortunately, today much of this wondrous place and its extraordinarily diverse biota remains preserved as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the memory of those who first settled there remains immortalized in a tiny creature oblivious to it all,” Dr. Quinter said.

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2 Responses

  1. Don Baxley

    I heard about that. I think they named their new chief Funny Feathers.

  2. Willoughbilly

    Well since its from Appalachia why no CrystalMethious TrailerTrashicus


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