We are sharing our world with 8.7 million species. The vast majority, almost 86 percent is yet to be discovered, studied and ultimately, catalogued. It is no surprise that while scientists are at it, they run out of names. Here are some of the strangest, wackiest names in science that can serve as pretty good tongue twisters too.
Vini vidivici is a species of parrot also known as conquered lorikeet. The Latin name literally translates to “I came, I saw, I conquered.” However, the parrots went extinct about 700-1300 years ago. Conquered? Ironic.
A new fungus, Spongiforma squarepantsii, discovered in the largest island of Asia, Borneo was named after famous cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants who looks like a regular kitchen sponge but is indeed a sea sponge. The fungus has been named so due to its similarity in shape with the sea sponge.
Parastratiosphecomyia stratiosphecomyioides is too big a name for a small fly. It is the longest scientific name standing at 42 letters with no great meaning either.
Kamera lens is a single-celled organism with protruding appendages and it came into attention a few decades ago despite being dated as far as 1773. Not much is known about its physiology or ecologic importance. Likewise, nobody knows why it’s been named this way. But it makes a good addition to the list anyway.
Scaptia beyonceae, that’s right, Queen Bee. In 2012, Dr. Bryan Lessard named a horsefly with a golden back after American singer and actress Beyoncé, as a way to garner attention to the rare species (and important pollinator) and the need to log and study more insects. The fly had been stored in Australian National Insect Collection since 1981, the year Beyoncé was born. The name is in compliance with the requisites set by International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN).
Lara Croft, the character most famously portrayed on screen by Angelina Jolie, have also had the same honour. Aptostichus angelinajolieae is a trap door spider. There are 33 species under this genus; a note-worthy arachnid is Aptostichus barackobamai. The 44th POTUS so far has the greatest number of species named after him. The current one, Donald Trump, gets one of his own as well – Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, a moth indigenous to Southern California and Northern Mexico.
Lastly, there is the Gelae genus hosting round fungus beetles called Gelae baen (“jelly bean”), Gelae donut (“jelly doughnut”), Gelae belae (“jelly belly”), Gelae fish (yes) and so on.
Hiya is currently struggling to reach her book-reading goals. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org