Olena Pfirsch investigates the bizarre backstories behind the ‘Latin’ scientific names of animals.
Names of celebrity children have nothing on these names inspired by the scientist’s favourite celebrities. Very recently, a new species of tarantula was discovered and named after none other than music legend Johnny Cash. Aphonopelma johnnycashi lives near Folsom Prison and was name after the singer due to both the song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and the enthusiasm of Dr Chris Hamilton who also has a tattoo of the black-clad country singer. This is not the first time that an animal species has been named after a celebrity musician:
A parasitic crustacean was named after Reggae singer Bob Marley by marine biologist Paul Sikkel. Sikkel said he called it after the singer as ‘this species is as uniquely Caribbean as was Marley’. The parasites live all over the ocean but are most commonly found in the Caribbean coral reefs.
Found in ‘High Tide or Low Tide’
This type of gall wasp is named in honour of none other than Elvis Presley himself. With its title inspired by the 1957 song ‘All Shook Up’ and the suffix of his surname, this wasp may not have the ‘Elvis Pelvis’ but it does lay claim to owning the ‘wasp-waist’.
Love bee tender?
Have you ever wanted to meet your favourite musician but have never figured out the best way to get a one on one? Ferdinando Boero, an Italian biologist who happens to be a jellyfish expert, found a way. By naming a newly discovered jellyfish after music legend Frank Zappa, Zappa met the biologist and the two have shared a friendship since.
This jellyfish has a fierce ‘Zapp’
With a snail (Anomphalus jaggerius) and a species of a fossil group of marine life (Aegrotocatellus jaggeri), Jagger was able to get back in on the action once again when a newly discovered extinct animal was named after the Rolling Stones star in 2014. The mammal is described as a ‘deer-sized mixture of a pig and hippopotamus’, complimentary to Jagger I’m sure.
He’s got the moves like Anomphalus
Of course the Queen of Pop couldn’t be left out. The species of horse fly with a ‘glamorous golden rear’, found in 1981 the same year Beyonce was born, has been named after the star and her golden lycra clad behind that appears in the ‘Bootylicious’ music video.
Lookin’ sexy, lookin’ fly
image credits: lovenature, biodiversityinfocus, wikimedia, twimg