Weird Organisms Named After Celebrities

Thousands of new species of animals are discovered yearly and they all have to be named.  Scientists who make these discoveries don’t often name the creatures after themselves. After all, that would be interpreted as the height of arrogance. Instead, some scientists give the species names of celebrities who they hold in high esteem or relate to some interesting feature of the organism. Pop culture icons often see this as a great honor. In some cases, the media coverage associated with such an announcement is a highly powerful tool for drawing much needed attention to vulnerable or endangered species and raising awareness of their condition. Let’s take a look at five organisms that are named after celebrities.

1. Agra Schwarzeneggeri

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a retired professional bodybuilder, famous Hollywood star, film producer, businessman and the thirty-eighth governor of California. He was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2004 and 2007 by Time Magazine. The Agra schwarzeneggeri is a species of carabid beetle named after Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002. This beetle got its name because of the male’s enormously large middle femora that resembled the bodybuilder’s muscular biceps.

2. Dendropsophus Stingi

Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner known as Sting is a musician, songwriter and actor. This celebrity musician’s music includes elements of rock, jazz, classical, reggae, world beat and new-age. Sting’s music is far-reaching. He has had concerts in numerous countries around the world and has been involved in several charities. Ecologists have named a rare tree frog, endemic to Colombia- Dendropsophus stingi. This species is named after Sting and means Sting’s tree frog. Why Sting one might ask. This is in recognition for his support and charitable work to help save the rainforests. 

3. Norasaphus Monroeae

 Norma Jeane Mortenson better known as Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, model and singer. We are all familiar with her most lasting image wearing a blowing white halter dress. Marilyn Monroe was blessed with a voluptuous body that is still spoken of today. A group of scientists, who discovered a species of aphid trilobites, named it Norasaphus monroeae, after Marilyn Monroe for its hour-glass shape. Its fossils were found between Northern Territory and Queensland, Australia.

4. Mastophora Dizzydeani

If you’re a baseball fan then you have definitely heard of Dizzy Dean. He was a famous American professional baseball pitcher who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953. Mastophora dizzydeani is a species of the bolas spiders named after Dizzy Dean. The peculiar hunting strategies of the Mastophoreae bolas spiders made researchers think of Dean’s theatrics, playing style, and overabundance of skill. Adult females do not use a web to catch their prey; instead, they use one or more sticky droplets at the end of a single thread of silk. Like Dean, they are just that good.

5. Campsicnemus Charliechaplini

Charlie Chaplin was a British actor, comedian, director, composer and screenwriter who became quite popular during the era of silent film. Through his movements, postures and facial expressions, he made people smile and weep while also making them feel more human. Chaplin was known for his unusual walk and for this reason, a rare fly was named Campsicnemus charliechaplini after Charlie Chaplin. Scientists observed that when this fly dies, its mid-legs adopt a peculiar bandy-legged posture that resembles Chaplin’s legs when he walked.  



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