15 Creepy-Crawlies Named After Pop Culture Icons

15 Creepy-Crawlies Named After Pop Culture Icons

If you discover a species you get to name it. That’s pretty exciting — most people don’t discover a huge quantity of species in their lives, so they put real thought into it, coming up with artfully descriptive Latin terms. (You don’t get to choose all of it btw — the way scientific names work is, the first part is the generic name pointing out what genus the species is in, and the second part is the specific name, which is where you get to go for it.)

While plenty of scientists go for something descriptive, or reference something else about the species like where it was discovered or its size relative to similar species, some take it as an opportunity to celebrate their pop-culture heroes. 

There are a lot of metalheads in science, and what better way for them to combine their twin passions than naming a new species after the lead singer of Nine Inch Nails? That’s how Actinopus reznori got its name, in the same bout of taxonomic revision by Brazilian team Miglio, Pérez-Miles and Bonaldo that led to Actinopus anselmoi (after Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo) and Actinopus cornelli (after Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave). There’s even a spider called Gollobofio megadeth. That’s awesome.

If not celebrating their love of metal in faux-Latin form, a scientist might opt to name a species after a celebrity as a bit of a joke about a perceived shared trait, an earnest tribute to a pop-culture hero, a just-for-the-hell-of-it move or, like, a way of maybe getting a nice email from Shakira one day…

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The Silver-Tongued Bug Scientist with His Eye on Hollywood

Legendary entomologist Terry Erwin named three species of beetles after Liv Tyler, Kate Winslet and JAG star Catherine Bell (Agra liv, Agra katewinsletae and Agra catbellae), pointing out in the papers how elegant they all were. You sly dog, Terry. CRACKED

Source / Britannica 

The Wasp Honoring Hollywood’s Favorite Hunk

Buntika А. Butcher of Chulalongkorn University in Thailand made no attempt at subtly trying to get Brad Pitt's attention naming a wasp Conobregma bradpitti - the paper specifies (his) poster adorned the wall of her laboratory during her doctoral studies. CRACKED

Source / Biography 

Matt Groening’s Shellfish-Championing Pays Off

Invertebrate specialist Christopher Boyko honored the Simpsons creator in the name of a crab, Albunea groeningi, highlighting his extensive promotion of crustacean issues in the popular media, citing Lisa's hermit crab, Patty and Selma's shell-cleaning techniques and Pinchy the lobster. CRACKED

Source / Fandom 

The Waspy Gamut of Entertainment

Wasp specialists Shimboli and Shaw had 24 species to name, so went through every talk show host (Kimmel, Colbert, Ellen...) as well as - due to one wasp (causing) the host caterpillar to bend and twist its abdomen in various ways - Shakira. CRACKED

source / People 

The Worm with the Daft Punk Dick

Baicalellia daftpunka is a flatworm with a very strange penis. Its penis, in fact, looks almost like a helmet, leading zoologist India Stevenson to name it after the world's most famous helmeted electronic duos. CRACKED

Source / Wikipedia 

Metallica’s Double Wormy Whammy

EIF W Parasitic worm Metallichneumon neurospastarchus is a double honor for Metallica - the genus is named after the band, while the species name is Greek for ruler of puppets, a reference to their excellent third album. CRACKED

Source / IMDB 

The Ongoing Quest to Name a Species After Every Drag Queen

Scientists also love Drag Race. The fly Opaluma rupaul owes its name to having legs for days, while the team of McAdams, Adrain and Karim have named species after several competitors (as well as all the cast members of Gladiator). CRACKED

Source / Just Jared  

Metal, Metal, Metal, That Cute Guy from That Show

Lifelong metaller Ben Thuy of the University of Luxembourg has named dozens of species after his rowdy heroes, including Gojira, Meshuggah and Arch Enemy. Не broke this pattern when his wife insisted he name one after Supernatural star Jensen Ackles. CRACKED

Source / Dispatch 

The Spider Genus That Ain’t Got Time to Bleed

When Brescovit et al discovered a genus of spider with an oddly familiar face, they named it after the Hollywood creature it resembled. The 17 species within Predatoroonops are named after elements of Predator, including Predatoroonops schwarzeneggeri and Predatoroonops dutch. CRACKED

Source / EW 

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