Etymology: Named after People
Bufonaria borisbeckeri Parth, 1996 (bursid sea snail)
Etymology: "Ich widme die neue Art Boris Becker, dem meines Erachtens
größten deutschen Einzelsportler aller Zeiten."
[Spixiana 19(1): 129]
Eulaema atleticana Nemésio, 2009
(bee) Named in honor of the 100-year anniversary of Clube
Atlético Mineiro, a Brazilian football (soccer) team. The
black and yellow stripes on the bee's metasoma resemble the striped
official players' t-shirt.
Eulaema quadragintanovem Nemésio &
Ferrari, 2012 (bee) The name is Latin for 49, the jersey number
of soccer superstar Ronaldinho Gaúcho of Clube Atlético
Mastophora dizzydeani Eberhard, 1984 (spider) Named
after a baseball player. The spider uses a sticky ball on the end of a
thread to catch its prey.
Salmonella enterica enterica serovar
Mjordan (bacterium serotype)
Agaporomorphus colberti Wheeler & Miller,
2009 (diving beetle) Wheeler said, "Last year, Stephen
shamelessly asked the science community to name something cooler than
a spider to honor him. His top choices were a giant ant or a laser
lion. While those would be cool species to discover, our research
involves beetles, and they are 'way cooler' than a spider any
Aleiodes colberti Shimbori & Shaw,
2014 (parasitic wasp)
Aptostichus stephencolberti Bond & Stockman
2008 (trapdoor spider)
Diamphipnoa colberti Stark, 2008 (stonefly)
for Stephen Colbert, of The Colbert Report. [Illiesia
Albunea groeningi Boyko, 2002 (sand crab
(Crustacea: Anomura: Albuneidae)) named for Matt Groening, creator of
Aleiodes elleni Shimbori & Shaw, 2014
(parasitic wasp) Named after Ellen DeGeneres. [ZooKeys 405:
Aleiodes falloni Shimbori & Shaw, 2014
(parasitic wasp) Named after James Thomas (Jimmy) Fallon.
Aleiodes stewarti Shimbori & Shaw, 2014
(parasitic wasp) Named after Jon Stewart of The Daily
Campsicnemius charliechaplini Evenhuis, 1996
(dolichopodid fly) "Etymology: This species is named in honor of the
great silent movie comedian, Charlie Chaplin, because of the curious
tendency of this fly to die with its midlegs in a bandy-legged
position." [Bishop Mus. Occ. Pap. 0(45):54]
Cuspicephalus scarfi Martill and Etches,
2011 (pterosaur) Named for artist/cartoonist Gerald Scarfe,
whose caricatures mostly have very pointed noses.
Baeturia laureli and
B. hardyi de Boer, 1996 (cicadas)
Strigiphilus garylarsoni Clayton, ~1989 (owl
louse) "I considered this an extreme honor. Besides, I knew no one was
going to write and ask to name a new species of swan after me. You have
to grab these opportunities when they come along." - Gary
Serratoterga larsoni (Ecuadorian
butterfly) also after cartoonist Gary Larson.
Montypythonoides riversleighensis Smith & Plane, 1985
(fossil snake) The genus is no longer valid; this species is now called
Sula abbotti costelloi Steadman, Schubel & Pahlavan,
1988 (a subspecies of Abbot's booby, recently
Anatoma tobeyoides Geiger & Jansen,
2004 (snail) Named for American abstract expressionist painter
Mark Tobey, because the sculpture on the snail shell is reminiscent
of his work.
Effigia okeeffeae Nesbitt 2007.
(Archosaur) from Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, near where the artist
Georgia O'Keeffe lived.
Elysia manriquei (sea slug from Lanzarote)
Named in honor of artist Cesar Manrique "for the architecture and
colorful designs of its body"
Gaudipluma Artal et al. 2013 (Eocene crab)
Its carapace resembles the buildings of Catalan architect
Antoní Gaudí. [Zootaxa 3652: 343]
Microchilo elgrecoi Bleszynski, 1966 (crambid
moth) After the Spanish painter El Greco. [Acta
Zool. Cracoviensia 11: 451]
Microchilo murilloi Bleszynski, 1966 (crambid
moth) After the Mexican painter Murillo (Dr. Atl). [Acta
Zool. Cracoviensia 11: 451]
Pseudoparamys cezannei Hartenberger, 1987
(Ischyromyidae, extinct rodent)
Raphaelana Girault (wasp)
Pseudocatharylla gioconda Bleszynski, 1964
(crambid moth) "Described from a unique female" and "very distinctive."
[Acta Zool. Cracoviensia 11: 683]
Aleiodes frosti Shimbori & Shaw, 2014
(parasitic wasp) Named after Robert Frost, in reference to his poem
"The Road Not Taken." This wasp is unique in its genus in exiting its
host caterpillar through a posterior side hole.
Alsasuacaris nostradamus Bakel et al., 2011
(cyclid crustacean) One of the authors had predicted a year beforehand
that cyclids would be found in the area.
Aptostichus dorothealangeae Bond 2012
(trapdoor spider) Named for photojournalist Dorothea Lange.
Aptostichus edwardabbeyi Bond 2012
(trapdoor spider) Named for author and environmentalist Edward
Aesopichthys Poplin & Lund, 2000 (fossil
actinopterygian fish) Named for Aesop.
Aligheria Girault (wasp) named for Dante
Arthurdactylus conandoylensis Frey & Martill, 1994
(Brazilian pterosaur) Named after Arthur Conan Doyle in honor of his
story The Lost World, which is set in jungle similar to where the
fossil was found, and in which a living pterosaur is brought back to
Draculoides bramstokeri Harvey & Humphreys, 1995
(schizomid) Bram Stoker was the author of Dracula.
Carlyleia Girault, 1916 (eulophid wasp) named
for Thomas Carlyle.
Crichtonsaurus Dong, 2002 (ankylosaur
dinosaur) Named after Jurassic Park author Michael
Cedrorestes crichtoni Gilpin et al., 2007
Bienosaurus crichtonii, 2000 [nomen nudum] (small
biped dinosaur) Named after Michael Crichton, but not published with a
description. Reassigned to B. lufengensis Dong,
Cyclocepahala casanova Ratcliffe and Cave,
2009 (scarab beetle) So named for the heart-shaped mark on its
Pectinivalva (Casanovula) Hoare, 2013
(moth) The subgenus is named "after the famous Italian adventurer and
philanderer Giacomo Casanova, in reference to the unusual sexual
ornamentation of the males of some species." [ZooKeys
Daisya obriani Anderson, 2003 (weevil)
Named for Patrick O'Brian, writer of English naval books.
Darwinilus sedarisi Chatzimanolis, 2014
(rove beetle) Named after writer/humorist David Sedaris "as an
appreciation for his fascination with the natural world."
Emersonella Girault, 1916 (eulophid wasp)
named for Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Gabrius tolkieni Schillhammer, 1997 (rove
Khamul tolkieni Gates, 2008
(eurytomid wasp) [Zootaxa 1898: 31]
Leucothoe tolkieni G. Vinogradov, 1990
(amphipod) Named after J.R.R. Tolkien. [Vinogradov, G. M. 1990.
Trudy instituta okeanologii AN SSSR (Transactions of the Inst. of
Oceanology of the USSR Academy of Science) 124: 27-104 (in
Martesia (Paramartesia) tolkieni Kennedy,
1975 (burrowing clam)
Shireplitis tolkieni Fernandez-Triana &
Ward, 2013 (braconid wasp)
Goethaeana Girault, 1920 (eulophid wasp) named for
Johann Goethe. One species is
Podocyrtis goetheana (Haeckel), Riedel and
Sanfilippo, 1970 (Eocene diatom)
Ibyka Skog and Banks, 1973 (fossil plant)
"from the poet Ibykos whose murder was revealed by cranes. This plant
was only discovered because of quarrying operations [involving a
different sort of crane] for the construction of Gilboa
dam." [Amer. J. Bot. 60: 368.]
Keatsia Girault (wasp) named for poet John
Goniopholis kiplingi Andrade, 2011
(Cretaceous crocodile) in recognition of Rudyard Kipling's enthusiasm
for natural sciences.
Idiomacromerus longfellowi Girault, 1917
(torymid wasp) Named after Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Ablerus longfellowi (wasp)
Lampanyctus steinbecki Bolin, 1939 (longfin
lampfish) Bolin created this name to repay Steinbeck's giving him a
signed first edition of one of his novels. Apparently, Steinbeck was
not pleased, because he asked for the book back.
Legionella shakespearei Verma et al. 1992
(bacterium) Isolated from a cooling tower in
Livyatan melvillei Lambert et al. 2010
(fossil sperm whale) Named for the author of Moby Dick, which
book includes, in addition to its famous whale, a chapter on whale
(lycaenid butterfly) Named after Vladimir
Nabokov, himself an entomologist who studied butterflies in the same
subfamily. See also Names from Fictional
for butterfly names derived from Nabokov's
Papilio antimachus Drury, 1782
(swallowtail) Named for Greek poet Antimachus of Colophon. (Linnaeus
chose names of Greek heroes for butterflies in the
genus Papilio; others have expanded on that
Plato Coddington, 1986 (spider)
Plutarchia Girault, 1925 (eurytomid wasp)
named for classical biographer Plutarch.
Richteria Girault, 1920 (mymarid wasp) named for
German humorist and novelist Jean Paul (born Johann Paul Friedrich
Sappho Reichenbach, 1849 (hummingbird)
Heliconius sapho (Drury 1782) (butterfly)
Both named for Sappho, the famous Greek poet.
Shakespearia Girault, 1928 (encyrtid
Legionella shakespearei Verma et al., 1992
Psephophorus terrypratchetti Köhler, 1995
fossil turtle) Terry Pratchett wrote a series of fantasy books set on a
world carried on the back of a giant turtle. [J. Royal
Soc. N.Z. 25:371
Serendipaceratops arthurcclarkei Rich & Vickers-Rich,
2003 (Cretaceous ceratopsian dinosaur from Australia). Named
for sci-fi author Arthur C. Clark, who in 1956 emigrated to Ceylon/Sri
Lanka, formerly known as Serendib.
Tetramorium adamsi Hita Garcia & Fisher,
2012 (ant) Named for Douglas Adams, best known for "The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series.
[Zootaxa 3592: 51]
Thoreauia Girault (wasp) named for Henry David
Beethovena Girault, 1932 (encyrtid
Gnathia beethoveni Paul & Menzies, 1971
Mozartella beethoveni Girault, 1926 (encyrtid
Bishopina mozarti Bonaduce, Masoli & Pugliese,
Fernandocrambus chopinellus Bleszynski, 1967
(crambid moth) [Acta Zool. Cracoviensia 12: 39]
Salinoctomys loschalchalerosorum Mares, Braun, Barquez &
(Chalchalero Viscacha rat) "named for the
great Argentine folklore group, 'Los Chalchaleros,' in honor of their 52
years singing the traditional music of western Argengina, its habitats,
and its history." [Mares et al.,
2000. Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University
Terebellides sepultura Garrafoni & Lana,
2003 (polychaete worm) Sepultura is a Brazilian heavy metal
Funkotriplogynium iagobadius Seeman & Walter, 1997
(mite) from Iago, "James" and badius, "brown," named after
James Brown, the King of Funk.
Milesdavis Lieberman, 1994 (trilobite)
[Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 0(223)
Gnathia marleyi Sikkel 2012 (parasitic
isopod) Named after reggae musician Bob Marley. "I named this
species, which is truly a natural wonder, after Marley because of my
respect and admiration for Marley's music. Plus, this species is as
uniquely Caribbean as was Marley."
Agra beegees Erwin (ground
Petula Clark, 1971 (tineid)
Mackenziurus johnnyi, M. joeyi, M. deedeei,
M. ceejayi Adrian and Edgecombe, 1997 (trilobites) Named after
Sinatra Buffington, 2011 (figitid
parisatoid wasp) Named for singer Frank Sinatra.
Aleiodes shakirae Shimbori & Shaw, 2014
(parasitic wasp) Named after Colombian singer Shakira, who is famous
for her belly-dancing. The parasite causes its host to bend and twist
Alviniconcha strummeri Johnson et al., 2014
(sea snail) Because it is studded with spikes, has purple blood, and
lives in an extreme environment, the researchers named this snail
after a punk rock icon, Joe Strummer of The Clash.
Amphinema rollinsi Widmer, 2007 (jellyfish)
Henry Rollins was the lead singer of the seminal Punk Rock band Black
Anacroneuria carole and
A. taylori Stark, 2004 (stoneflies) Named
after Carole King and James Taylor, respectively.
Aptostichus bonoi Bond 2012 (trapdoor spider) Named
"in honor of Bono from the Irish rock group U2 and in recognition of
the Joshua Tree album released in March of 1987". [ZooKeys 252:
Avalanchurus simoni and
A. garfunkeli Adrain & Edgecombe, 1997
Chiromantes garfunkel Davie & Ng, 2013
(Garfunkel's bright-eyed crab) Named for Art Garfunkel in tribute to
his song "Bright Eyes". [Zootaxa 3609:1]
Avalanchurus lennoni, A. starri Edgecombe &
Chatterton, 1993 (trilobites) Named for Beatles John Lennon and
Bushiella (Jugaria) beatlesi Rzhavsky, 1993
Greeffiella beatlei Lorenzen, 1969 (nematode)
Lorenzen doesn't state the etymology, but the worm's shagginess suggests
a Beatles haircut.
Struszia mccartneyi Edgecombe & Chatterton,
1993 (trilobite) for Paul McCartney.
Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae Lessard 2011
(horse fly) Named after singer-songwriter Beyoncé Knowles,
inspired by her hit single "Bootylicious" and the dense patch of
golden hairs on the fly's abdomen.
Arcticalymene viciousi, A. rotteni, A. jonesi, A. cooki,
A. matlocki Adrian and Edgecombe, 1997 (trilobites) for the
Sex Pistols. [J. Paleo. 71(4)]
Barbaturex morrisoni Head et al., 2013
(giant Eocene lizard) "Species nomen honors Jim Morrison, vocalist [of
The Doors] and lizard king." [Proc. R. Soc. B. 280
Beardius dioi Pinho, Mendes & Andersen,
2013 (chironimid fly) Named after Ronnie James Dio, former
vocalist for the bands Rainbow and Black Sabbath and his own band
Dendropsophus ozzyi Orrico et al., 2014
(frog) Named after British rock singer John Michael "Ozzy" Osbourne.
The frog's call is high-pitched and batlike, and Ozzy Osbourne also
has an association with bats after famously biting off the head of
one. [Zootaxa 3881: 354.]
Depressizona exorum Geiger, 2003 (snail)
named after the Dutch post-punk-white-noise band "The Ex". The band
later featured this snail on their CD "The Turn".
Dicrotendipes thanatogratus Epler, 1987 (chironomid)
From Gk "thanatos", dead, and Latin "gratus", grateful; after the
Cryptocercus garciai Burnside, Smith and Kambhampati,
1998 (wood roach) named for Grateful Dead lead singer Jerry
Garcia. [WWW J. of Biol. 4-1] (There's also an asteroid named Garcia,
shortly after his death.)
Elvisaurus Holmes, 1993 [nomen nudum]
(Antarctic dinosaur) so called for it's 'pompadour-like' crest. Now
Preseucoila imallshookupis Buffington, 2004
(gall wasp) The genus is named after Elvis Presley, the specific name
for one of his songs.
Gaga germanotta Li et al., 2012 (fern)
Named after Lady Gaga "because of her fervent defense of equality and
individual expression." Lady Gaga's given name is Stefani
Germanotta. Another species in the genus,
Gaga monstraparva, honors Lady Gaga's
fans, whom see calls "little monsters." [Syst. Bot. 37:
Gagadon minimonstrum Stuckey & Covert,
2014 (Eocene mammal) Again referring to Lady Gaga and her
Aleiodes gaga Butcher et al. 2012 (braconid
wasp) "in honour of popular singer and performer Stefani Joanne
Angelina Germanotta, known professionally as Lady Gaga".
Heteropoda davidbowie P. Jaeger, 2009
(large Malaysian spider) for singer David Bowie.
Hyla stingi Kaplan, 1994 (Columbian tree frog) Named
after the British rock star Sting in recognition of his work for the
Jaggermeryx Miller et al., 2014 (Miocene
anthracothere) This hippopotamus relative has oversized lips,
inspiring its being named after Mick Jagger.
Aegrotocatellus jaggeri Adrain & Edgecombe, 1995
(trilobite) for Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger. See also the genus etymology
Aegrotocatellus nankerphelgeorum Adrain &
Edgecombe, 1995 "Nanker Phelge" was a pseudonym used for several
Rolling Stones compositions between 1963 and
Anomphalus jaggerius Plas, 1972 (fossil gastropod)
[J. of Paleo. 46: 249-260]
Perirehaedulus richardsi Adrain & Edgecombe, 1995
(trilobite) for Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.
Kalloprion kilmisteri Eriksson 2006 (fossil
polychaete) Named after Lemmy Kilmister of the heavy metal band
Kingnites diamondi Eriksson et al. 2012
(Silurian polychaete worm) Named for Danish heavy metal singer King
Diamond. Eriksson has composed a metal song, "Deep Time Predator",
performed by Seetyca and Invertia.
Leucothoe eltoni Thomas, 2015 (amphipod)
honoring rock musician Sir Elton John. "Specifically, in reference to
the large shoe-like first gnathopod of this species and the voersize
boots Elton John wore as the local pinball champion in the movie
'Tommy' (1975)." [ZooKeys 518: 51-66]
Litarachna lopezae Pesic et al., 2014
(mite) Named after Jennifer Lopez because the discoverers like her
music, and because she and the mite are both from Puerto
Rico. [ZooKeys 425: 89]
Loureedia Miller et al., 2012 (velvet
spider) As it is a velvet spider which lives underground, it was named
after Lou Reed, lead singer and songwriter of the Velvet
Macrocarpaea dies-viridis J.R. Grant, 2007
(gentian) for the punk rock group Green Day. [Harvard Papers
in Biology 11: 129.]
Maldybulakia angusi and
Maldybulakia malcolmi Edgecombe, 1998
(Devonian myriapods) Named for AC/DC's co-founders Angus and Malcolm
Young. [Records of Austr. Mus. 50: 293]
Masiakasaurus knopfleri Sampson, 2001 (theropod
dinosaur) Named after Dire Straits singer/songwriter Mark Knopfler.
Sampson said, "Whenever we played Dire Straits in the quarry, we found
more Masiakasaurus, and when we played something else, we didn't."
Knopfler replied, "The fact that it's a dinosaur is certainly apt, but
I'm happy to report that I'm not in the least bit vicious." ("Masiaka"
is Malagasy for "vicious.")
Mercurana Abraham et al. 2013 (tree frog)
Commemorating Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the rock band Queen, who
spent much of his childhood in Panchgani, India, where the frog was
discovered. [Zootaxa 3640: 177.]
Cirolana mercuryi N. Bruce, 2004 (East African
isopod) Named for Freddy Mercury, "arguably Zanzibar's most famous
popular musician and singer."
Taeniopteryx mercuryi Fochetti & Paolo
Nicolai, 1996 (stonefly) Also for Freddy Mercury.
Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni Klompmaker
et. al. 2012 (fossil hermit crab) discovered on the same day
that the researchers learned of pop superstar Michael Jackson's death,
and named in his honor.
Metallichneumon neurospastarchus Wahl and Sime,
2002 (ichneumonid wasp) "Neurospastarchus" translates as "Master of
Puppets," which is the seminal album by the thrash metal band Metallica.
The name refers to the larval ichneumonid's manipulation of its host
Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi Bond and Platnick, 2007
(trap-door spider) for rock musicial Neil Young [Am. Mus. Novitates
Orectochilus orbisonorum Miller, Mazzoldi &
Wheeler, 2008 (whirligig beetle) Named for singer Ray
Orbison and his widow Barbara. It's tuxedo-like elegant appearance is
one reason for the naming.
Paramaka pearljam Mariano, 2011 (mayfly) "Named to
celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pearl Jam." [Zootaxa 3038:
Pinkfloydia Dimitrov & Hormiga, 2011
(spider) Named after the rock band Pink Floyd.
Pseudocorinna brianeno Jocque & Bosselaers,
2011 (spider) after the musican Brian Eno.
Qiliania graffini Ji et al., 2011
(Cretaceous entiornithine bird) Named for Greg Graffin, a
paleontologist and member of the punk rock group Bad Religion, at the
suggestion of coauthor Jingmai O'Connor, a longtime fan of the
Talabrica elotroyoae Santelli & del
Río, 2014 (bivalve) Named for the alternative rock band
"El Otro Yo" from Argentina. [Ameghiniana 51: 311]
Villa manillae Evenhuis, 1993 (bee fly)
Inspired by Millie Vanillie. [Idesia 12:19]
Xanthosomnium froesei Sime and Wahl, 2002
(ichneumonid wasp) "Xanthosomnium" is a translation of the synth band
Tangerine Dream. The species is "named after Edgar Froese, the founder
and continuity behind Tangerine Dream."
Xestochironomus virgoferreae Pinho & Souza,
2013 (chironomid fly) The species name is the British heavy
metal band Iron Maiden translated to Latin.
X. dickinsoni Pinho & Souza, 2013
(chironimid fly) Named after Bruce Dickinson, lead singer for Iron
Vunicothoe Boyko 2009 (copepod) From
Nicothe, an existing copepod genus (named, incidentally, for a
harpie from Greek myth), plus VU for Velvet Underground, in homage to
the 1967 album "The Velvet Underground and Nico" [Proc. of the
Biol. Soc. of Wash. 122: 206]
Zappa (Roberts), 1989
(goby) "in honour of Frank Zappa for
his articulate and sagacious defense of the First Amendment of the
U.S. Constitution." [Rec. of Austrl. Museum
suppl 11: 53] Murdy,
who renamed the genus,
, "I like his music."
Amaurotoma zappa Plas, 1972 (fossil gastropod) [J.
Paleo. 46: 249-260]
Oenonites zappae Eriksson 1997 (fossil
Pachygnatha zappa Bosmans and Bosselaers,
1994 (orb-weaver spider) It has a black marking under its abdomen
curiously reminiscent (at least to Bosmans and Bosselaers) of Frank
Phialella zappai Boero, 1987
Named as part of Ferdinando Boero's plan to get to meet Frank Zappa.
"There is nothing I'd like better than having a jellyfish named after
me" - Frank Zappa. (details
[J. Nat. Hist.
Propionibacterium acnes Type Zappa
(bacterium) The first known bacterium transferred from humans (where
it causes acne) to plants (domestic grapes, Vitis vinifera,
where it causes no ill effects). [Mol. Biol. Evol.
There is also an asteroid named "3834 Zappafrank" ("16745 Zappa" is
named after astronomer Giovanni Zappa.)
Agra catbellae Erwin, 2002 (ground beetle)
Named for Catherine Bell, actress in the TV program "JAG", because the
beetles share the forest with jaguars.
Agra katewinsletae Erwin, 2002 (ground
beetle) For actress Kate Winslet, "starlet of the movie Titanic. Her
character did not go down with the ship, but we will not be able to
say the same for this elegant canopy species, if all the rain forest
is converted to pastures." [Zootaxa 119: 1-68.]
Agra liv Erwin, 2002 (carabid) "The first
name of the actress Liv Tyler, starlet of the movie, Armageddon. The
existence of this species of elegant beetle is dependent upon the
rainforest not undergoing an Armageddon ..."
Agra schwarzeneggeri Erwin, 2002 (carabid)
"The family name of the actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in reference to
the markedly developed (biceps-like) middle femora of the males of
this species reminiscent of the actor's physique."
Aptostichus angelinajolieae Bond, 2008
(trapdoor spider) after actress Angelina Jolie.
Attenborosaurus Bakker, 1993 (plesiosaur) "in
honor of the naturalist and filmmaker David Attenborough, whose
childhood fascination with Liassic plesiosaurs sparked a brilliant
career in scientific journalism."
Agapornis attenboroughi Manegold
2013 (Pliocene parrot)
Blakea attenboroughi (tree)
Ctenocheloides attenboroughi Anker, 2010
Electrotettix attenboroughi Heads et al.,
2014 (fossil pygmy locust)
Materpiscis attenboroughi 2008 (Devonian
fish) Sir David Attenborough drew attention to the site of the fossil
on his "Life on Earth" series. The type specimen was preserved giving
birth, hence the genus name, which means "mother fish." [Nature
Nepenthes attenboroughii Robinson et al.,
2009 (giant pitcher plant) from the highlands of central
Philippines. Named for Sir David Attenborough.
Prethopalpus attenboroughi Baehr & Harvey,
2012 (goblin spider)
Trigonopterus attenboroughi Riedel, 2014 (weevil)
Zaglossus attenboroughi Flannery and Groves
1998 (long-beaked echidna from New Guinea) Named after well-known
wildlife presenter David Attenborough. It is known from only one
specimen collected in 1961 and may now be extinct. [Mammalia,
Avahi cleesei 2005 (woolly lemur) Named for
actor/comedian John Cleese, who played a lemur-happy zookeeper in the
film Fierce Creatures, hosted a documentary on lemurs, and is
concerned with wildlife conservation.
Baru darrowi Willis , Murray and Megirian, 1990
(Miocene semi-aquatic crocodylian from Australia) Honoring Paul
Darrow, British actor "best known for his role in the television
series 'Blake's Seven', in recognition of his support of continuing
palaeontological investigation of the Riversleigh deposits"
[Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 29, 522.] Baru is an
aboriginal name for a crocodile ancestor.
Calponia harrisonfordi Platnick, 1993 (caponiid spider)
Named after Harrison Ford in appreciation of his narrating a
Pheidole harrisonfordi Wilson, 2002 (ant)
Named in recognition of Harrison Ford's involvement (as Vice Chairman)
in Conservation International.
Coloborhynchus spielbergi Veldmeijer 2003
(pterosaur) Honoring Steven Spielberg, director of the "Jurassic Park"
Utahraptor spielbergi Bonar, Lassieur, McCafferty &
Voci, ~1992 [nomen nudum] (theropod dinosaur) Named
after Jurassic Park director Steven Spielberg. The raptors in
the movie were larger than any then known, until this raptor was
announced the week the movie premiered. Apparently, it was not
adequately described in the rush to name it. Reassigned
to U. ostrommaysorum Kirkland, Gaston & Burge,
Ctenus monaghani Jäger, 2013 (spider)
Named for actor Dominic Monaghan, who filmed a documentary with the
author. [Zootaxa 3670: 91]
Harryhausenia Boyko, 2004 (fossil sand crab
(Crustacea: Anomura: Albuneidae)) for movie animator Ray Harryhausen
(7th Voyage of Sinbad, Jason and the Argonauts, etc.). He animated a
sand crab for the movie "The Mysterious Island."
Hydroscapha redfordi Maier et al. 2010 (beetle) Named
for Robert Redford, who played Jeremiah Johnson, whom the authors
(mistakenly) believed was the source of the name of the Jerry Johnson
Hot Springs where the beetle was discovered, but also for his support
of conservation in the Rocky Mountains. [Coleopterists Bulletin
Kootenichela deppi Legg, 2013 (Cambrian
arthropod) Named for Johnny Depp, star of Edward Scissorhands,
among other roles. Said Legg, "When I first saw the pair of isolated
claws in the fossil records of this species I could not help but think
of Edward Scissorhands. Even the genus name, Kootenichela, includes
the reference to this film as 'chela' is Latin for claws or scissors."
(Kootenay is a Canadian national park where the fossil was
Liturgusa krattorum Svenson, 2014 (mantis)
for Chris and Martin Kratt, creators and hosts of children's TV shows
Kratts' Creatures and Wild Kratts. [ZooKeys 390: 137]
Meenoplus roddenberryi Hoch & Naranjo,
2012 (true bug) Named after Star Trek creator Gene
Roddenberry. The mission statement of that show, ". . . to explore
strange new worlds, to seek out new life . . .", the authors suggest,
applies also to the speleology which uncovered this cavernicolous bug.
[Deutsche Entomo. Zeit. 59(2): 207]
Nepenthes 'Helen' (pitcher plant) a cross
of spathulata x spectabilis, named after Helen
Norasaphus monroeae Fortey (trilobite)
after Marilyn Monroe; it has an hourglass shaped glabella.
Orsonwelles othello, O. macbeth, O. falstaffius, O.
ambersonorum Hormiga, 2002 (giant Hawaiian linyphiid
spiders). These species are named after famous Orson Welles
roles. Hormiga named the genus after Welles because he was a giant
Orsonwelles bellum, O. malas, O. toledus
Hormiga, 2002 (linyphiid spiders). Named in reference to famous
Orson Welles works -- "The War of the Worlds", "Touch of Evil", and
"Citizen Kane", respectively.
Pristimantis jamescameroni Kok, 2013 (frog)
Named after James Cameron for alerting people to environmental issues
and encouraging veganism, the latter being an effective way to reduce
human impact on the frog's ecosystem.
Rostropria garbo Early (diapriid wasp)
Described from "a solitary female".
Theognete weiri Anderson, 2010 (weevil)
Named for Peter Weir, director, among other things, of the film
"Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World", based on Patrick
O'Brian's series of books.
Honorifics naming scientists who have done some work related to the
organism named after them are too numerous to mention. These
stand out from that crowd.
Astraptes viracocha Brower 2010 (skipper
butterfly) "The name viracocha, a noun in apposition, is the
name of a bearded white god of the Incas. The species is named for Dan
Janzen." [Syst. Biodivers. 8: 486]
Bobkabata kabatabobbus Hogans & Benz, 1990
(parasitic copepod) Named after parasitologist Bob Kabata.
Cartwrightia cartwrighti Cartwright, 1967 (scarab
beetle) Islas established the genus in 1958 in honor of coleopterist
Oscar L. Cartwright, who later named this species for his brother.
(For a couple cases of biologists who did name species after
themselves, see Wright, The Naming of the Shrew,
Carukia barnesi Southcott, 1967
because the research that earned Dr. Jack Barnes the honorific also
earned him a Darwin Award
Chrysina cavei Hawks & Bruyea, 1999
(scarab) Named after collaborator and friend Ronald Cave, who was
always cold when working in the cloud forests. Hawks said, "This
species' blue tarsi remind me of Ron's perpetual cold feet!"
Dransfieldia (palm) and
Soejatmia (grass). The only husband and
wife botanists who both have plant genera named in their honor are John
Dransfield and Soejatmi Dransfield.
Eumorbaeschna adriankini Bechly & Kin,
2012 (Jurassic dragonfly) Adrian Kin died during the preparation
of the paper. Günter Bechly both named the species after him and
included him as coauthor. Technically, this contravenes a convention
against naming a species after a person naming it. The paper,
however, makes it clear that Bechly alone is responsible for the name
choice. [Acta Palaeo. Polonica 58: 121]
Euphorbia ballyana Rauh, 1966, E. ballyi
Carter, 1963, and E. proballyana Leach, 1968
(African plants) Three species in one genus named for the same person,
botanist Peter R.O. Bally.
Gomphonema lange-bertalotii Reichardt and
Gomphonema reichardtii Lange-Bertalot
(diatoms) Taxonomists honoring each other within the same
Gonomyia alexanderi (Johnson, 1912) (crane
fly) One of the relatively few tipulids named after Charles
P. Alexander (1899-1981), the most prolific taxonomist after Linnaeus.
He described 11,755 insect taxa, mostly in the Tipulidae (crane
flies), or approximately one per day of his professional
life. (Linnaeus described approximately 12,100, including 4,400
animals and 7,700 plants.)
Hoia hoi Avdeev & Kazatchenko, 1986 (parasitic copepod)
Named after Ju-Shey Ho.
Navicula austrocollegarum Lange-Bertalot &
R.Voigt (diatom) To honor all the austrian colleagues of the
Panoploea rickettsi Shoemaker, 1931 (sand
Asbestopluma rickettsi Lundsten et al.,
2014 (sponge) These are just two of at least 16 species named
after Ed Ricketts, marine biologist, author of Between Pacific
Tides, friend of John Steinbeck, and inspiration for the character
Doc in Cannery Row. He was related to Howard Taylor Ricketts,
after whom Rickettsia rickettsii (the pathogen causing Rocky
Mountain spotted fever) was named.
Roloffia (Roloffia) roloffi roloffi (Roloff, 1936)
(freshwater fish) The fish had this designation only for a while. It
was originally Aphyosemion roloffi Roloff 1936, and is now in
genus Scriptaphyosemion. [Wochenschrift Aquar.-Terr.
33(25): 387] (Roloff also named Rivulus roloffi after himself
[1938, Wochenschrift Aquar.-Terr. 35: 597.)
Solanum baretiae Tepe, Ridley, and Bohs,
2012 (understory vine) Jeanne Baret, in 1766 when French law
prohibited women aboard naval vessels, disguised herself as a man to
work with botanist Philibert Commerson on a three-year expedition
commanded by Louis Antoine de Bougainville. An accomplished botanist
in her own right, she also became the first woman to circumnavigate
Tessmannianthus quadridomius Wurdack, 1989
(flowering plant: Melastomataceae) Dr. José Cuatrecasas, a
botanist at the Smithsonian, was an important collector of plants in
Colombia and had many species named after him, all of them
"cuatrecasasii". When a colleague wanted to make an original tribute,
he translated "Cuatrecasas" ("four houses" in English) into Latin,
hence "quadridomius." [Revista Acad. Colomb. Ci. Exact.
Thiara carolitaciturni (snail) Named after
the Dutch zoologist Karel Dammerman, who was famous among his
colleagues for being shy and retiring, i.e., taciturn.
These species are named for other famous scientists.
Archimedes Lesueur, 1842 (bryozoan with a corkscrew
Aristotelia L'Hér. (Elaeocarpaceae
Aristotelia Hü, 1825 (moth) Named
after Aristotle, along with . . .
Phalacrocorax aristotelis Linnaeus, 1761
Silurus aristotelis Garman, 1890
Brahea Mart. (palm) Named for Danish
astronomer Tycho Brahe.
Celsia Linnaeus (Mediterranean subshrub) Named
after the Celsius to whom the centigrade thermometer is credited, who
was also an amateur botanist and a mentor to Linnaeus. In Celsius's
original scale, water freezes at 100 and boils at zero. Linnaeus
himself was the first to propose the inverted scale that we use
Copernicia (palm) After the astronomer
Crikey steveirwini Stanisic, 2009 (land
snail) In honor of "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin and his famous
catch-cry. [Zootaxa 2206: 62]
Trypanosoma irwini McInnes et. al. 2009
(trypanosome) named after Steve Irwin.
Dawkinsia Pethiyagoda et al. 2012 (cyprinid
fish) Named for Richard Dawkins.
[Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters 23: 69.]
Cyclocephala freudi Endrödi, 1963
Lepithrix freudi Schein, 1959 (scarab)
Conyza montigena var. fosseyae Beentje, 2002
(Compositae) after Dian Fossey, of gorilla fame, who collected the
Gaussia H. Wendl. (palm) honoring German
mathematician Karl Friedrich Gauss. (Also an asteriod, 1001
Haeckeliania Girault, 1912 (trichogrammatid
wasp) named for Ernst Haeckel.
Hippocratea (tropical vine) and its family
Hippocrateaceae, named after Hippocrates.
Leonardo davincii Bleszynski, 1965 (pyralid
Janibacter hoylei (bacterium) named after
astrophysicist Fred Hoyle. The bacterium was found in the upper
Linnaea borealis Gronovius (twinflower)
Linnaeus wrote, "Linnaea . . . is a plant of Lapland, lowly,
insignificant, disregarded, flowering but for a brief space -- from
Linnaeus who resembles it." It was mock modesty; Linnaeus arranged for
the plant to be named for him.
Megachile chomskyi Sheffield, 2013
(leafcutter bee) Named for linguist Noam Chomsky.
Pasteurella (plague bacterium) Named for
French chemist Louis Pasteur.
Phalacrocorax aristotelis (Linnaeus, 1761)
(European shag) named for Aristotle.
Phanaeus changdiazi Kohlmann and Solís,
2001 (scarab) Named after Costa Rican physicist and astronaut
Plinia L. (myrtle) for Pliny the
Pristionchus maxplancki Kanzaki et al.,
2013 (nematode) Named after physicist Max Planck. The Max
Planck Institute for Developmental Biology works with nematodes in
this genus. [Zoolog. Sci. 30: 680]
Rothschildia Grote, 1896 (saturniid moth)
According to Steve Jones in Almost Like a Whale (1999), renowned
19th century naturalist Lord Walter Rothschild (founder of the Tring
Museum) has 153 insects, 58 birds, 18 mammals, 3 fish, 3 spiders, 2
reptiles, 1 millipede and 1 worm named after him.
Silurus aristotelis (Agassiz, 1857)
(Aristotle's catfish) Named after Aristotle, who was the first to
describe the reproductive behavior of this endemic Greek
Thomashuxleya Ameghino, 1901 (Eocene
Wallacea darwini Hill, 1919 (stratiomyid fly) Charles
Darwin is probably the most eponymized person in biology, with more
than 220 species and at least 24 genera named after him
Darwinhydrus (dytiscid beetle),
Darwinia Rudge, 1815 (shrub),
Darwinia Pereyaslawzewa, 1892 (flatworm),
Darwiniella Speg. 1888 (fungus),
Darwiniella Anderson, 1992 (barnacle),
Darwinilithus (Mesozoic alga),
Darwinilus (rove beetle),
Darwiniothamnus (Asteraceae shrub),
Darwiniphora (phorid fly),
Darwinites (Paleozoic mollusc),
Darwinius (Eocene primate),
Darwinivelia (water strider),
Darwinneon (jumping spider),
Darwinocoris (lygaeid bug),
Darwinomyia (anthomyiid fly),
Darwinysius (lygaeid bug),
and Microdarwinula (ostracod);
there are also families Darwinellidae, Darwinulidae).
This species is named also after Alfred Russel Wallace, co-discover of
the theory of evolution.
Wodyetia bifurcata (foxtail palm) named
after Wodyeti, last aboriginal to live in the Melville Range area in
Queensland, Australia, and last to hold the traditional native knowledge
of the area.
Aptostichus muiri Bond 2012 (trapdoor
spider) Named after John Muir, who explored and fought to preserve
Yosemite Valley, where the spider was discovered.
Brachypanorpa sacajawea Byers, 1990 (Rocky
Mountain scorpionfly) named for Lewis and Clark's guide and
Clarkia Pursh (flower, Onagraceae) for
Captain William Clark.
Doronomyrmex pocahontas Buschinger 1979 (ant)
Named for Princess Matoaka, precocious daughter of Chief Powhatan who
served as a bridge between the Native Americans and the English
settlers of Jamestown. She is better known by her father's nickname
for her, Pocahontas, which means "little mischievous one." The ant,
from Alberta, Canada, is a threatened species.
Agathidium pocahontasae Miller and Wheeler, 2005
(slime mold beetle) Named for a county in Virginia which was named for
Pocahontas. [Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 291.]
Dysanema irvinei and
D. malloryi Uvarov, 1925 (grasshoppers)
These two grasshoppers were collected above 14,000 feet on the 1924
British expedition to Mt. Everest on which Andrew Irvine and George
Mallory both disappeared.
Lewisia (bitterroot) for Meriwether
Liturgusa fossetti Svenson, 2014 (mantis)
Named for businessman and aviator Steve Fossett "for his inspirational
dedication to adventure and exploration". [ZooKeys 390]
Mammuthus columbi Falconer, 1857 (Columbian
mammoth) Named after Christopher Columbus. It was widespread in southern
North America in the late Pleistocene.
Alberta magna E.Mey. (Natal flame bush)
Named after Saint Albertus Magnus. The genus has just the one
Buddhaites Diener, 1895 (mollusk)
Barilius buddhae Fowler, 1934 (cyprinid
fish) "found near a cave sacred to Buddha".
Confucius Distant, 1907 (bug)
Confuciusornis sanctus Hou, Zhou, Gu, and Gang,
1995 (feathered dinosaur) "holy Confucius' bird".
Tianyulong confuciusi Zheng et al., 2009
(Chinese Cretaceous heterodontosaurid dinosaur)
Dalailama Staudinger, 1896 (bombycid moth)
Dalai-Lama C. Mereschkowsky 1906
Orontobia dalailama De Freina, 1997 (tiger moth) from
Tibet. "Origo nominis: la nouvelle espèce est
dédiée au chef spirituel et politique du peuple
tibétain actuellement opprimé: sa Sainteté le
Kerygmachela kierkegaardi Budd, 1998 (Cambrian
Lutheria Girault (wasp) named for Martin
Marxella Girault, 1932 (encyrtid wasp) named
for Karl Marx.
Petrochirus diogenes (caribbean hermit crab)
for the Cynic philosopher Diogenes of Sinope.
Socratea (palm) Named after Socrates.
Wulfila O.P.-Cambridge, 1895 (anyphaenid
sac spider) Named after Wulfila (a.k.a. Ulfilas), a 4th-century Goth
missionary and Bible translator.
Zanabazar Norell et al., 2009 (troodontid
dinosaur from Mongolia) Named in honor of Zanabazar, first spiritual
head of Tibetan Buddhism in Outer Mongolia.
Agathidium bushi, A. cheneyi and
A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler, 2005
(slime mold beetles) Named after the U.S. president, vice president, and
Agathidium cortezi Miller and Wheeler
(slime mold beetle) for conquistador Hernan Cortez, conquerer of the
Aztec empire and colonial administrator of New Spain.
Allendia Noonan, 1974 (carabid) Named after Chilean
president Salvador Allende.
Anolis (Xiphosurus) roosevelti Grant, 1931
(lizard) from Puerto Rico; possibly extinct. It is named in honor of
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., who was then governor of Puerto
Anophthalmus hitleri Scheibel, 1933 (blind cave beetle)
Named by an amateur entomologist admirer of the Fürher (though
Dutch biologist/writer Midas Dekkers suggests that naming a blind cave
beetle after Hitler was an attempt to ridicule him). It is found in
only five Slovenian caves and is endangered by collectors of Hitler
memorabilia. [Entomologische Blätter 33: 438]
Roechlingia hitleri Guthörl, 1934 (paleodictyopteran)
See Canad. J. Zool. 61:1684-86 for discussion of appropriateness
of the name. That article considers it a junior synonym of Sclepasma
gigas Handlirsch, 1911.
Aptostichus chavezi Bond 2012 (trapdoor
spider) Named for labor and civil rights activist César
Arsinoetherium (Oligocene ungulate) Named
for the Egyptian-Ptolemaic queen Arsinoe near whose palace the first
remains were found.
Astraeus sirindhorniae Phosri et al. 2014
(star-shaped fungus) Named after Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand.
[PLoS ONE 9(5): e71160]
Caligula (saturniid moth)
Crinopseudoa caligula Jocqué &
Cleopatrodon Bown and Simons, 1987 (Eocene
mammal from Egypt) named after Cleopatra.
Paroxyna cleopatra Hering, 1937 (fruit fly)
named for the Egyptian queen; now synonymized with
P. messalina , named for Roman empress
Messalina, third wife of Claudius I.
Cheguevaria Kazantsev, 2006 (firefly) "The
new genus is named after E. 'Che' Guevara, the legendary Latin
American revolutionary, very popular in the Caribbean
region." [Russian Entomol. J. 5(4): 367-392.]
Cherokeea attakullakulla Sullivan &
Quinter (moth) Named after Attakullakulla, the influential
18th-century Cherokee leader. [ZooKeys 421: 181]
Colletes gandhi Kuhlmann, 2003
Crocidura attila Dollman, 1915 (Hun shrew)
Crocidura roosevelti Heller, 1910
(Roosevelt's shrew) from Africa; named after Theodore Roosevelt.
Also named after Teddy:
Cervus canadensis roosevelti (Roosevelt or
Olympic elk) The largest surviving North American elk
Muntiacus rooseveltorum Osgood, 1932 (Laotian
barking deer) discovered by one of Theodore Roosevelt's sons on a 1929
hunting trip, and named for the president.
Pelomys roosevelti Heller, 1910 (mouse)
The type specimen was collected by Roosevelt and described in his
field notes during his 1909-10 safari to Africa. Edmund Heller was
the expedition's taxidermist.
Pheidole (Electropheidole) roosevelti Mann,
1921 (Roosevelt's ant) from Fiji.
Stenomorpha roosevelti Smith, Miller &
Wheeler 2010 (darkling beetle) named in Teddy Roosevelt's honor
on the 100th anniversary of a speech he gave at Tempe Normal School,
now Arizona State University.
Dasyurus spartacus Van Dyck, 1987 (bronze
Enyalioides binzayedi Venegas et al., 2013
(lizard) honoring Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of
Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE, who supports many
conservation projects, including the field survey leading to this
lizard's discovery. [ZooKeys 277: 69]
Equus grevyi Oustalet 1882 (Grevy's zebra)
Named after Jules Grevy (1807-1891), president of France from 1879-1887.
The president of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) sent the type specimen to
France in 1882, the first zebra seen in Europe since Roman
E. gore, and
E. obama Layman & Mayden,
2012 (darters) Named after former and current U.S. leaders who
have worked to promote conservation and environmental
protection. [Bull. Alabama Mus. Nat. Hist. 30: 1.]
Eudiospilus rubrumbarus Zhang & Sharanowski,
2014 (braconid wasp) "In honor of Baron Manfred von Richthofen,
the 'Red Baron', as the coloration on the head of this species
resembles that of a leather aviator helmet." [Zootaxa 3838:
Eupatorium L. (herbaceous perennial aster)
Named after Mithridates Eupator, king of Pontus.
Exyrias akihito Allen & Randall 2005
(goby) Named for ichthyologist and Japanese Emperor Akihito "in
recognition of his significant contribution to our knowledge of gobiid
Gazella bilkis Groves & Lay, 1985 (gazelle, recently
extinct) for King Solomon's paramour Bilkis, the Queen of Sheba. The
gazelle came from Yemen, which may have been Sheba.
Franklinia Bartram, ~1770 (tree, Theaceae)
Named after Ben Franklin. Extinct in the wild shortly after its
discovery when the one grove of the trees (on the Altamaha R., GA) was
cleared for farmland, but the Bartrams preserved seeds, and the tree
is now a widespread ornamental.
Gentiana L., 1753 (gentian) The genus is the
Greek name of the plant, which comes from Gentius, the last king of
Illyria, who reputedly discovered its medicinal properties.
Glaucopsyche xerces Boisduval, 1852 (Xerces
blue butterfly) an extinct butterfly from the coastal sand dunes of
San Francisco. The Xerces name derives from the French spelling of
Xerxes, the name of two Persian kings of the fifth century
Godiva MacNae, 1954 (nudibranch) Yes, the
"nud-" in nudibranch means naked.
Grimaldichthys profondissimus Roule, 1913 (deep sea
Grimalditeuthis bonplandi Joubin, 1898 (transparent
Lepidoteuthis grimaldii Joubin, 1895 (squid) Named
after the Grimaldi family, reigning house of Monaco. His Serene
Highness Prince Albert I of Monaco was an amateur teuthologist who
pioneered the study of deep sea squids by collecting the 'precious
regurgitations' of sperm whales. He collected the first two himself,
G. profondissimus by trawling at a depth of 19,800 feet (a
fishing depth record at the time). L. grimaldii was first
collected from the stomach contents of a whale.
Grotiusomyia Girault, 1917 (eulophid wasp)
Named for Hugo Grotius, Dutch jurist, statesman and codifier of
Harpagus Vigors, 1824 (tropical American
kite) Named for the Median general Harpagus.
Horaglanis abdulkalami (catfish) Honoring
former Indian president Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for his contributions
to science and science education.
Hyloscirtus princecharlesi Coloma, 2012
(Prince Charles stream tree frog) from Ecuador, honoring Prince
Charles for his efforts towards rainforest conservation.
Hypsiboas alfaroi Caminer & Ron, 2014
(tree frog) Named for Eloy Alfaro Delgado, progressive president of
Ecuador, 1897-1901 and 1906-1911. [Zookeys 370: 1]
Jasminum bhumibolianum Chalermglin
(jasmine) "Named in honor of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama
IX), King of Thailand."
Jeffersonia (L.) Pers., 1792 (twinleaf) Named
when Thomas Jefferson was Secretary of State. The citation stated that
"in botany and zoology, the information of this gentleman is equalled by
few persons in the United States."
Chesapectin jeffersonius 1842 (Late
Miocene/Early Pliocene scallop) The Virginia state fossil and the
first North American fossil illustrated in a scientific publication,
Martin Lister's 1687 Historiae Conchyliorum.
Mammuthus jeffersonii Osborn, 1922 (mammoth)
Named after Thomas Jefferson.
Megalonyx jeffersonii Desmarest, 1822 (ground sloth)
Thomas Jefferson acquired a "great claw" from a West Virginia cave and,
in 1796, his letter about it was read at the American Philosophical
Society meeting. (Jefferson thought it was a lion.) This is the
earliest record of American vertebrate paleontology. Jefferson asked
Lewis and Clark to look for a living Megalonyx on their expedition. By
then, more complete remains had shown it was not a lion, but he still
didn't know its great age.
Jenghizkhan Olshevsky vide Olshevsky, Ford &
Yamamoto, 1995 (Mongolian tyrannosaurid) named for Genghis Khan.
(now syn. with Tarbosaurus)
Jubaea (palm) named after king Juba II of
Mauretania (82 BC - 23 AD), writer of some books on natural history,
possibly first explorer of Madeira and the Canary Islands, and married
to Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.
Euphorbia regis-jubae Webb and Berthelott
(medicinal plant), one of Juba's discoveries, is also named after
Kalanchoe salazarii R.-Hamet (succulent)
named for Portuguese dictator António Salazar.
Khruschevia ridicula Flower (worm) Named by
its discoverer Rousseau H. Flower to show his dislike of former Soviet
Premier Nikita Khruschev and the Communist Party in
Legionella gratiana Bornstein et al. 1991
(bacterium) Named for Roman emperor Gratianus, who bathed in the hot
springs where the species was first isolated.
Leninia stellans Fischer et al. 2013
(Cretaceous ichthyosaur) Named after Russian revolutionist Vladimir
Lenin. The full name means "Lenin the brilliant."
Lincolna Girault (pteromalid wasp) named for
Liturgusa algorei Svenson, 2014 (mantis)
Named for vice president Al Gore "for his environmental activism
including his efforts to raise public awareness of global climate
change." [ZooKeys 390: 128]
Mahidolia Smith, 1932 (goby) Named in honor
of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej of Thailand, founder of Thailand's present
royal family and regarded as the father of modern medicine and public
health in Thailand.
Mandelia Valdes & Gosliner, 1999 (sea slug) in
honor of Nelson Mandela, who led the struggle for multiracial
government in South Africa. It is the only genus in the family
Mandeliidae. Also named for him:
Anelosimus nelsoni I. Agnarsson, 2006
Australopicus nelsonmandelai Manegold et
al. 2012 (early Pliocene woodpecker) "a sort of scientific
present for his 94th birthday."
Garjainia madiba Gower et al., 2014
(Triassic archosauriform) "Madiba" was a nickname of
Singafrotypa mandela Kuntner & Hormiga,
Stasimopus mandelai Hendrixson & Bond,
2004 (trapdoor spider)
Munidopsis mandelai (squat
Mitra kamehameha Pilsbry, 1921 (Indo-Pacific
marine mollusc) Named for King Kamehameha I, who unified the Hawaiian
islands and presided over the opening of Hawaii to the rest of the
Maotherium Rougier, Ji, and Novacek, 2003 (Cretaceous
symmetrodont mammal from China). Named for Communist revolutionary and
leader Mao Tse-Deng.
Maxillaria gorbatchowii (Bolivian orchid)
Named after Mikhail Gorbachev.
Napoleonaea imperialis (bromeliad)
Obamadon Longrich et al., 2012 (Cretaceous
Aptostichus barackobamai Bond 2012
(trapdoor spider) Obama is a reputed fan of Spiderman
Caloplaca obamae Knudsen, 2009 (lichen) Knudsen
wrote the manuscript between Obama's 2008 election and his
inauguration, honoring him for "his support of science and scientific
Paragordius obamai Hanelt et al., 2012
(hairworm) Named after president Barack Obama, whose father was raised
near its type locality in Kenya. [PLoS ONE 7(4)]
Ornithoptera alexandrae Rothschild, 1907
(Queen Alexandra birdwing butterfly) This New Guinea butterfly is the
world's largest. It is named after Alexandra of Denmark, Queen
Consort to England's Edward VII and Empress of India.
Pachyrhinosaurus perotorum Fiorillo &
Tykoski, 2011 (ceratopsid dinosaur) Named for H. Ross Perot,
Margot Perot, and their family, for their long support of science and
Parides montezuma (swallowtail) for Aztec
Pinus montezumae (Mexican pine)
Xiphophorus montezumae Jordan & Snyder,
1899 (Montezuma swordtail)
P. maximae, P. amaliae, P. alexiae, and
P. arianeae Visagie et al., 2013 (mold)
P. vanoranjei, unusual for producing orange colonies, was
named after Willem-Alexander Claus George Ferdinand,
'Zijne Koninklijke Hoogheid de Prins van Oranje' ('His Royal Highness
the Prince of Orange') to coincide with his coronation. The other
were named after his family: Princess Máxima, and her three
daughters Princesses Amalia, Alexia and Ariane. [Persoonia
Poinsettia Willd. ex Klotzsch (ornamental
spurge) Named after Joel Roberts Poinsett, physician, congressman, and
U.S. Minister to Mexico, who introduced the plant to the United
Pseudapanteles josefigueresi ,
P. laurachinchillae ,
P. oscarariasi, and
P. luisguillermosolisi Fernández-Triana
& Whitfield, 2014 (wasps) Named after presidents of Costa
Rica: Jose Maria Figueres, Laura Chinchilla, Oscar Arias, and Luis
Guillermo Solís. Many other members of the genus are named
after government officials associated with conservation in Costa
Rica. [ZooKeys 446: 1-82]
Pundamilia nyererei (Lake Victoria
cichlid) Named for Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, one of Africa's great
Romblonella coryae General and Buenavente
2015 (ant) Named after Corazon ("Cory") Aquino, former Filipino
president. "It is fitting that a genus named after a Philippine
island [Romblon] has a species named after a modern Filipino hero."
[Halteres 6: 59]
Rooseveltia frankliniana O.F. Cook (palm) The genus is
now regarded as a synonym of Euterpe, and the species is now
sunk into E. macrospadix. Named after Franklin Delano
Roosevelt, who, for the Presidential Cruise of 1938, a 24-day cruise
beginning July 16, brought along a naturalist (Waldo Schmitt) and made
fourteen collection stops in territories of Mexico, France, Ecuador,
Costa Rica, and Colombia. Other species named for the cruise
Callyspongia roosevelti Van Soest, Kaiser &
Van Syoc, 2011 (sponge) First gathered on a 1938 Pacific
expedition made possible by FDR. [Zootaxa 2839]
Conus roosevelti Bartsch & Rehder,
1939 (mollusc) (Synonym of C. tiaratus G. B. Sowerby
Marginella roosevelti Bartsch & Rehder,
1939 (mollusc) (Synonym of Prunum amabile (Redfield,
Neanthes roosevelti Hartman, 1939
Neomegamphopus roosevelti Shoemaker, 1942
Octopus roosevelti Stuart, 1941
(octopus) (Synonym of O. oculifer Hoyle, 1904)
Peasiella roosevelti Bartsch & Rehder,
1939 (mollusc) (Synonym of Echinolittorina porcata
Pycnomma roosevelti Ginsburg,
1939. (Roosevelt's goby)
Siriella roosevelti W. Tattersall, 1941
(mysid crustacean; opposum shrimp)
Terebra roosevelti Bartsch & Rehder,
1939 (mollusc) (Synonym of Oxymeris maculata (Linnaeus,
Rotaovula hirohitoi Cate and Azuma, 1973
(rare marine mollusc) named for Michinomiya Hirohito, Emporer of Japan
and marine biologist whose specific interests included hydroids and
dominion over Asia.
Scipionyx dal Sasso & Signore, 1998 Named for Scipio
Africanus. This is the first dinosaur found in Italy (and the first
with fossilized internal organs).
Sequoia (redwood) named after Sequoyah,
Cherokee chief and inventer of the Cherokee written language (though
he never traveled in the range of trees bearing his name). (It is
also one of the shortest words with all five vowels.)
Sirindhorn thailandiensis (princess moth)
Named after Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand. Other
species named after her are:
Acanthosquilla sirindhorn 1995 (panda
Bauhinia sirindhorniae 1997 (sam sip song pra
dong, a legume vine),
Loxosomatoides sirindhornae 2005
Macrobrachium sirindhorn 2001 (freshwater
Magnolia sirindhorniae (Princess
Phricotelphusa sirindhorn 1989 (panda crab),
Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae 1994
Pseudochelidon sirintarae Kitti 1968
(white-eyed river martin),
Streptocephalus sirindhornae 2000
(Anostraca, freshwater fairy shrimp),
Tarsius sirindhornae Chaimanee, Lebrun, Yamee, and
Jaeger, 2011 (middle Miocene tarsier),
Trigona sirindhornae (bee);
Thepparatia thailandica Phuph., 2006
(Malvaceae) Thepparat is her royal title.
Spartacus (leaf bug)
Strelitzia reginae Aiton, ~1773
(bird-of-paradise plant) Named for England's Queen Charlotte Sophia
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of Mad King George III. She took a marked
interest in botany, generously sponsored the gardens at Kew, including
expeditions and publications, and was a decent botanical illustrator
Styphelia tameiameiae (Cham. & Schltdl.)
F.Muell. (Pukiawe, a Hawaiian shrub) Named for King Kamehameha
I, aka Kalani Pai'ea Wohi o Kaleikini Keali'ikui Kamehameha o 'Iolani
i Kaiwikapu kaui Ka Liholiho Kunuiakea.
Vanessa tameamea Eschscholtz, 1878
(Kamehameha butterfly, the state insect of Hawaii) The specific name
is an old-fashioned and partially wrong transcription of "Kamehameha",
a dynasty of Hawaiian kings. (Hawaiian does not distinguish between
the /t/ and /k/ sounds, but the /h/ is pronounced and should be in the
Tecunumania Standley & Steyermark (wild
gourd) named after Tecún Umán, Mayan general who was
defeated by Pedro de Alvarado in the conquest of Guatemala.
Thysania agrippina Cramer, 1776 (owlet
moth) Named for Julia Vipsania Agrippina, one of the most prominent
women in the Roman Empire in the early 1st century.
Victoria 1838 (Victoria water lily) for the
Washingtonia (fan palm) after president
Xenopsylla cheopsis (Oriental rat flea;
vector of Plague) Named for the pharaoh Cheops, whose tomb is the
Xiphophorus nezahualcoyotl Rauchenberger, Kallman
& Morizot, 1990 (mountain swordtail) A fish named for the
15th-century Nahuan poet and ruler Nezahualcoyotl.
Zenaida Bonaparte, 1838 (dove) Named for
Zénaïde Laetitia Julie Bonaparte, Princess of Canino and
Musignano, niece of Napoleon Bonaparte. The name's author was
Zénaïde's husband (and cousin), ornithologist Charles
Carnegiea Britton & Rose (saguaro
cactus) Named for steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew
Diplodocus carnegii Hatcher, 1901
(sauropod dinosaur) Also for Andrew Carnegie.
Echinobothrium dougbermani Caira et al.
2013 (tapeworm) This guitarfish parasite is named after Doug
Berman, most noted as producer of NPR's "Car Talk".
[Comp. Parasit. 80: 22]
Eristalis alleni Thompson, 1997 (flower
fly) for Microsoft founder Paul Allen.
Eristalis gatesi Thompson, 1997 (flower fly)
Named after Bill Gates "in recognition of his great contributions" to
dipterology, presumably referring to money, not to bugs of another
Litokoala dicksmithi Black et al., 2013
(Miocene koala) Named for Australian entrepeneur, aviator, political
activist, and philanthropist Dick Smith, for his long-term financial
support of Australian science.
Neoperla teresa Stark, 2008 (stonefly) after
Teresa Heinz Kerry, environmentalist, philanthropist, and wife of
presidential candidate John Kerry.
Pheidole mooreorum Wilson, 2002 (ant) named
after Gordon Moore and his wife for their environmental philanthropy.
Moore, founder of Intel, is famous for expounding Moore's Law, about
exponential growth of computing power.
Sylvilagus palustris hefneri Lazell, 1984
(Lower Keys marsh rabbit) An endangered rabbit named after Playboy
founder Hugh Hefner. Lazell received financial help from the Playboy
Apistogramma mendezi Römer 1994
(cichlid) Named for rubber tapper and rainforest defender Chico Mendes,
but misspelled. [Aqua, J. Ichthy. Aquat. Biol. 1(1):
Aptostichus pennjillettei Bond 2012
(trapdoor spider) Named for illusionist and intellectual Penn
Blighia Koenig (tropical akee fruit) Named
after Captain Bligh of the H. M. S. Bounty, who brought it to
the West Indies as food for slaves.
Bobbichthys (fossil fish)
Cherax snowden Lukhaup et al., 2015
(crayfish) "[N]amed after the american freedom fighter Edward Joseph
Snowden. He is honored due to of [sic] his extraordinary achievements
in defense of justice, and freedom." [ZooKeys 518:
Dasykaluta rosamondae (Ride 1964) (kaluta, an
Australian "marsupial mouse") It has reddish fur and was discovered on a
sheep farm called Woodstock Station living in prickly spinifex bushes.
It was named after the King Henry II's red-headed mistress Rosamond, who
was kept locked in the Royal Manor of Woodstock surrounded by a maze of
Elseya irwini Cann 1997 (Irwin's turtle)
for Steve and Bob Irwin, who discovered the species in the Burdekin
River in 1990. Steve was best known as 'the Crocodile Hunter' on TV but
did a lot of good herpetological work. Bob is his father. [Journal
of the Victorian Herpetological Society 9(1)]
Geoballus caputalbus Crabill, 1969 (millipede) Named
after its collectors, George Ball and Donald Whitehead.
Gretchena delicatana, G. dulciana, G. amatana,
G. concubitana Heinrich, 1923 (moths) named by taxonomist Carl
Heinrich after his love interest(?) Gretchen; the names are derived, in
order, from "delicate", "sweet", "beloved", "lying together".
Kerevata jamesmayi, K. clarksoni, and
K. hammondi Butcher & Quicke, 2014
(braconid wasps) Named after James May, Jeremy Clarkson, and Richard
Hammond, presenters on the television series "Top Gear".
Malo kingi Gershwin, 2007 (jellyfish) Named after
Robert King, and American tourist who died in Australia after being
stung by it.
Nepenthes armin Jebb & Cheek, 2014
(pitcher plant) Named after Armin Rios Martin, Municipal Councilor on
Sibuyan, who, on 3 Oct. 2007, was shot and killed by a mining company
official while leading a protest of his community against clearing of
the forest to facilitate mining. [Blumea 59: 147]
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