Species naming – an alternative view

One of the articles for this week involves the naming of new species, and quite a few comments on this topic have related to the name of a particular worm:  Bobmarleya gadensis which is a genus and species of worm from deep-sea mud volcanoes in the Gulf of Cadiz, commemorating reggae singer Bob Marley (FutureLearn: Exploring our Oceans, week three, activity 3.6).

This set me to thinking of some of the other weird and wacky names species have been given over the years, and a quick web search brought up a few fabulous articles highlighting the entertaining, such as the “Gelae donutGelae baenGelae belaeGelae fish, and Gelae rol” (all examples of slime-mould beetles).  There are even those commemorating a famous figure, often a celebrity (say hello to the Scaptia beyonceae named after Beyonce):

 There is a collection of other celebrity themed species here. There are also those named after characters from movies and books, such as the Spongiforma squarepantsii, the Han Solo trilobite, and the wonderfully named Gollumjapyx smeagol:

There are a plethora of species names that are amusing: Ohmyia omya, Pieza kake and Polychisme. Several hundred of these are detailed on “Curios Taxonomy” link below. It is not just the biologists who have entertaining names, minerals are also prone to having some unusual names!

What is your favourite unusual species name? Share it below!


A great list of 10 of the 10 most bizarre species names.

An illustrated guide to zoologist humour.

A collection of puns from “Curios Taxonomy”.

Weird and Wild: Animal names from National Geographic.

A great article on the naming of species from IFLS.

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