Don't Tread on Me.

Metallica is on a total roll. S&M2 dropped on Friday, the drive-in movie theaters in Milton Freewater and La Grande, Oregon were loaded with bad ass rides and carloads of Metallica fans equipped with downloads of the new album for the one-night-only concert show. Catch that story, set list and pictures here.

Metallica’s James Hetfield has received the ultimate honor – a species of venomous snake has been named after him.

Atheris hetfieldi was discovered by a team of metal-loving scientists led by Dr Luis Ceriaco. The species of African Bush Viper, which grows up to about 20 inches in length, lives at the base of a volcano on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea and is characterized by Dr. Ceriaco writes, “a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance, which certainly is consonant with the image of a singer of an Heavy Metal band."

Dr. Luis Ceriaco
Dr. Luis Ceriaco

The good doctor reveals why he and the second author of his his team's paper, Mariana Marques, named a snake after Metallica’s singer:

"First, we've been Metallica and James Hetfield fans since a very young age. We wanted to honor him, as a thank you for all the good vibes his music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers. Also, we think that a mysterious venomous and cool looking snake, who lives in the base of a volcano lost in the middle of the tropical forest is very relatable to heavy metal! On another hand, naming a new species after someone as James brings more attention to the much needed biodiversity studies and field surveys. We are in race against the extinction of a large proportion of the world's biodiversity, and many species may go extinct before we even know they exist!"

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And it really isn't that hard to name a new species. As long as the paper is accepted in a scientific journal, after being  reviewed by scientific peers, the name part is completely up to the choice of the author.

They only have to abide by certain terminological rules ruled by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature. If that is followed, you can name it after anything you want - the specific habitat where the species occurs, any morphological character, a rock star, another scientist, a fictional character, pretty much anything.

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