› Blogs › Furman Library News ›The Curiosities of Binomial Nomenclature
Scientists are serious about their work. But when it comes to naming species, they often let down their hair! A few entertaining examples include:
Gelae baen – A fungus beetle discovered in 1986 in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Aphonopelma johnnycashi – A species of tarantula found in 2015 near Folsom Prison in California, and named after Johnny Cash, whose song, “Folsom Prison Blues,” made it famous.
Wockia chewbacca – This species of moth identified in western Mexico in 2009 is just one of many insect species named for Star Wars characters.
Aphis mizzou – Aphid named after the University of Missouri, the only place it is found.
Pieza pi – Neal Evenhuis is something of a legendary comedian in the entomological community. In 2002, he gave this name to a genus of mythicomyiid fly.
Scoterpes jackdanieli – A millipede found in caves on the grounds of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey distillery in Tennessee.
Otocinclus batmani – This species of catfish native to South America is named after the caped crusader because of a bat-shaped mark on its caudal fin.
Spongeforma squarepantsii – This new species of mushroom found in Borneo in 2010 was so unusual in its spongelike form, the researchers named it after SpongeBob SquarePants.
Visit the Sanders Science Library to see this display highlighting binomial nomenclature.
- The Naming of the Shrew: A Curious History of Latin Names
- Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science
- The Species Seekers: Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth
- The Plant Messiah: Adventures in Search of the World’s Rarest Species
- The Naming of Names: The Search for Order in the World of Plants
- The Lost Species: Great Expeditions in the Collections of Natural History Museums
- Gods and Goddesses in the Garden: Greco-Roman Mythology and the Scientific Names of Plants
- Describing Species: Practical Taxonomic Procedure for Biologists
- Linnaeus’ Philosophia Botanica
- Flower Hunters
- Every Living Thing: Man’s Obsessive Quest to Catalog Life, from Nanobacteria to New Monkeys