17 Awesome, Nerdy Examples Of Taxonomy Humor

If you’re going to be responsible for determining scientific classification, you may as well have fun with it. Here are some of the strangest and most amusing binomial names (Genus species) in all of taxonomy.

1. Ninjemys oweni

Ninjemys oweni was a gigantic turtle from the Pleistocene era. Originally placed in Megalania by Richard Owen, it eventually was reclassified as Ninjemys in 1992. The etymology was explained as such: “Ninj” after “Ninja, in allusion to that totally rad, fearsome foursome epitomizing shelled success” and “emys” from the Latin for turtle. Meaning the entire name roughly translates to “Owen’s Ninja Turtle.”

2. Ytu brutus

Ytu brutus is a Brazilian water beetle. The name derives from what is popularly attributed as Julius Caesar’s last words (see Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as an example): “Et tu, Brute?” Literally, this translates as “And you, Brutus?” In Spanish “Y tu” means “and you.” Hence, Ytu brutus.

3. Vini vidivici

Better known as the Conquered Lorikeet, Vini vidivici was a South Pacific parrot that went extinct roughly 700-1300 years ago. The name derives from the phrase “veni, vidi, vici,” which means “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

4. La cerveza

La cerveza is a type of crambid snout moth. It’s also Spanish for “beer.” Apparently, La is kind of a jokey genus. Other species include La cucaracha and La paloma, Spanish for cockroach and dove respectively. By the way, pictures of La moths are pretty much non-existent on the web, so this is a picture of a different genus of crambid snout moth. My deepest apologies to the crambid snout moth experts reading this post.

5. Gelae baen

Say it out loud. That’s right, it’s “jelly bean.” Other species in Gelae, a genus for fungus beetles, include: Gelae belae, Gelae donut, Gelae fish and Gelae rol. You so funny, scientists.

6. Oedipina complex

I bet you’ve already guessed that the scientific name of the Gamboa Worm Salamander derives from “Oedipus complex,” a psychoanalytical term for the condition where a boy sexually desires his mother. Actually, the name of this salamander literally WAS Oedipus complex up until very recently. Some taxonomist decided the entire genus needed an upgrade and watered down the joke.

7. Ba humbugi

Ba humbugi is a snail endemic to Fiji. No, it wasn’t discovered by Ebeneezer Scrooge. Perhaps the scientist who named it was just tired of snails that day.

8. Apopyllus now

Apopyllus now is a type of ground spider. I can only assume the guy who named it was a fan of the movie Apocalypse Now. Also, this is another case where I couldn’t find a picture of the actual spider even though it has an incredibly witty name and you’d think someone might want a picture of the damn thing. Hell, maybe they’d even use it for a list like this.

9. Agra vation

This species of beetle is not at all aggravating, unless we’re talking about finding a photograph of one. The picture above is definitely from the genus Agra, however. While we’re talking about Agra, it’s worth pointing out there are beetles named Agra cadabra and Agra phobia. A scientist named Terry Erwin is responsible for all these punny names.

10. Ittibittium

Bittium is a genus of small mollusks. Ittibittium is a genus of even smaller mollusks.

11. Pieza kake

A type of mythicomyiid fly, you’d think that it’d be a piece of cake to find a picture of Pieza kake. Alas, this was not the case, so you get a picture of a different mythicomyiid fly. Like you know what a mythicomyiid fly is anyway. By the way, other punny names in the Pieza genus include: Pieza pi, Pieza rhea, and Pieza deresistans. Be sure to say them all out loud.

12. Reissa roni

Reissa roni is another type of mythicomyiid fly. OK, I give in: that term means they’re flies that resemble bees. Bee flies, as it were. And I guess the guys who name bee flies really like puns and Rice-A-Roni. It is the San Francisco Treat, after all.

13. Heerz lukenatcha

Heerz lukenatcha is a type of wasp endemic to regions of Central and South America. I hope they locate a subspecies and name it Heerz lukenatcha kidd. Also see (and laugh at) Heerz tooya.

14. Han solo

Han solo is an agnostid trilobite. It is also the only species in the genus Han, hence Han solo, which very conveniently happens to be the name of a Star Wars character. But the whole “monotypic taxon” business is very convincing. Not.

15. Kamera lens

Kamera lens is a single-celled organism. I guess you would need some kind of lens to see it.

16. Phthiria relativitae

Phthiria relativitae is a type of fly. The fly pictured above is a different species of Phthiria by the way; apparently, P. relativitae isn’t nearly as popular as the theory it’s named after. Hey, not everyone (I’m looking at you, taxonomists) can be as cool as Einstein.

17. Gollumjapyx smeagol

Gollumjapyx smeagol is a species of diplurian (example depicted above), which in turn is a kind of arthropod. Let’s be frank here: a Lord of the Rings fan obviously named this sucker. But do you think they have little rings or multiple personalities or a quirky tendency to hiss “my preccccccioooooussss”? Oh well. I guess all names can’t be logical.

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