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Curiosities of Biological Nomenclature
Mark Isaak       specimen@curioustaxonomy.net
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Puns: Valid Words in Other Contexts

Acadia Vockeroth (fungus gnat)
Alienates (enicocephalid bug)
Anemia (fern)
Anthrax Scopoli, 1763 (bombyliid fly)
Anticlimax Pilsbry & McGinty, 1946 (fossil gastropod)
Antonia Loew, 1856 (bombyliid fly)
Apolysis Loew, 1860 (bombyliid fly)
Athletes (saturniid moth)
Balsa (noctuid moth)
Banjos Fowler, 1972 (percine fish)
Bishops Rich et al., 2001 (Cretaceous Australian mammal) Named for Barry Bishops, former chairman of the National Geographic Society.
Bonus Moskalev, 1973 (limpet)
Box Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1830 (fish)
Caecum (mollusc)
Cafeteria Fenchel & Patterson, 1988 (ciliate) Named from the English word because of the ciliate's appetite.
Calypso (orchid)
Car Blackburn, 1897 (weevil)
Chorus Gray, 1847 (snail)
Circus (harrier) Named for its circling courting movements.
Codon L. (honey bush) from Greek for "bell".
Conga Evans, 1955 (skipper)
Corona (snail)
Cotyledon (jade plant, Crassulaceae)
Cylinder Montford, 1810 (snail; subgenus of Conus Linnaeus, 1758)
Dialysis Walker (coenomyiid fly)
Disaster Agassiz, 1836 (echinoid)
Discus (clam)
Dives dives dives (Mexican grackle)
Drinker Bakker, Galton, Siegwarth & Filla, 1990 (small ornithopod dinosaur) Named after Edward Drinker Cope
Electron (a brightly colored motmot)
Emesis (metalmark butterfly)
Euphoria Burmeister, 1842 (scarab beetle)
Extra extra Jousseaume, 1894 (snail)
Formica Linnaeus (ant)
Genesis López-González et al., 2000 (copepod)
Glaucoma (protozoan)
Helix Linnaeus, 1758 (snail)
Hero Alder & Hancock, 1855 (nudibranch)
Hiatus Cresson, 1906 (otitid fly)
Hippocampus (seahorse)
Idea Fabricius, 1807 (lep)
Index Boettger, 1877 (snail subgenus)
Indicator indicator Sparrman, 1777 (greater honey-guide) This African bird leads people and honey-badgers to honey nests.
Irritator Martill, Cruikshank, Frey, Small, & Clark, 1996 (Brazilian Cretaceous spinosaur)
Lo Seale & Jordan, 1906 (rabbitfish)
Malleus (hammer oyster)
Mamma Moersch, 1852 (mollusk) There is also Papa Reichenbach, 1850 (bird) and Gramma (percine fish)
Microbiota Kom. (cypress shrub)
Mops mops (mormoopid bat)
Motes (larrine wasp)
Nirvana Kirkaldy (leafhopper)
Oestrus (bot fly)
Oops Agassiz, 1846 (arachnid) and
Oops Germar, 1848 (beetle) ("Oops" wasn't used as an interjection until the 1930's.)
Panacea Godman & Salvin, 1883 (nymphalid butterfly)
Pandemonium dis Van Valen, 1994 (paleocene mammal)
Paratype Felder, 1874 (lep)
Patella (limpet)
Pepsis (tarantula hawk wasp)
Piper (pepper plant)
Precis Hübner, (1819) (nymphalid butterfly)
Proconsul (fossil primate)
Prolepsis (fly)
Prorates Melander, 1906 (bombyliid fly)
Provocator Watson, 1882 (snail)
Saga Charpentier, 1825 (katydid)
Salamis Boisduval (snail)
Samba Friese, 1908 (bee)
Sander Oken, 1817 (pikeperch)
Scabies Haas, 1911 (clam)
Schema Becker, 1907 (shore fly)
Scissor Gunther, 1864 (fish)
Sepia (cuttlefish) Sepia ink once came from squid and cuttlefish ink.
Sepsis Fallen, 1810 (dung fly)
Sponsor Gory & Laporte (bupestrid beetle)
Stratus Schaufuss (rove beetle)
Synecdoche O'Brien, 1971 ("short-horned" bug)
Systole Walker (chalcidoid wasp)
This McAlpine, 1991 (fly) A poster on McAlpine's office door with an illustration of the fly says, "Look at This!"
Thymus Girault (chalcidoid wasp)
Tibia (conch)
Torpedo Houttuyn, 1874 (ray)
Trachea (noctuid moth)
Trapezium Megerle, 1811 (clam)
Trivia Gray, 1836 (snail)
Tumulus Hull, 1973 (bombyliid fly; subgenus of Thyridanthrax)
Turbo L., 1758 (marine snail) The name is Latin for a spinning top.
Tuxedo (plant bug)
Unicorn (goblin spider)
Vertigo (land snails)
Villa Lioy, 1864 (bombyliid fly)

Axis axis (Erxleben, 1777) (chital deer)
Castor fiber (European beaver) "fiber" is Latin for "beaver".
Chaos chaos Linnaeus, 1767 (protozoan)
Decodes helix Powell and Brown, 1998 (tortricid moth) [Pan-Pac. Entomol. 74:102]
Gluteus minimus Davis & Semken, 1975 (fossil of uncertain affinities) [Science 187: 251.]
Glycine max (soybean)

Albertosaurus sarcophagus Osborn, 1905 (Late Cretaceous tyrannosaurid)
Alaptus magnanimus Anandale, 1909 (fairy fly, myrmarid)
Amphiuma means tridactylum Cuvier, 1827 (a three-toed salamander)
Anisomys imitator Thomas, 1903 (uneven-toothed rat)
Chrysops asbestos Philip, 1950 (horse fly collected from a mule)
Diplaegidia gladiator Koh et al. 2004. (mite) Found on passenger pigeon feathers; now extinct.
Engyodontium album (Limber) de Hoog, 1978 (microscopic fungus)
Homotherium serum Cope (American Pleistocene scimitar cat)
Nanosella fungi Motschulsky, 1868 (feather wing beetle)
Oligoryzomys destructor Tschudi, 1844 (Tschudi's colilargo)
Onthophagus hippopotamus Harold, 1869 (dung beetle) Dunno why it would be named after an African mammal, since the beetle is from Mexico.
Pseudopotto martini Schwartz, ~1995 (primate) Named after R.D. Martin.
Psittacula echo (A. Newton and E. Newton, 1876) (Mauritius parakeet) Recently changed to P. eques echo
Requienia ammonia Nathorst (rudist bivalve)
Rhinoplax vigil Forster, 1781 (helmeted hornbill)
Rhizophora mangle L., 1753 (red mangrove)
Scinax arduous Peixoto, 2002 (Brazilian frog)
Tarsius spectrum Pallas, 1779 (spectral tarsier)
Uropsilus investigator Thomas, 1922 (inquisitive shrew mole)
Vanellus miles (Boddaert, 1783) (masked lapwing)

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