Photo: AP/Mark J. Terrill and Wikimedia/Stho002
What do Dick Cheney, Lady Gaga, Bob Marley, and Hugh Hefner all have in common?They’ve all been lucky enough to have a newly discovered species named after them.
From colourful fish to rabbits to innocuous wasps, here’s a small sample of the animal kingdom’s celebrity-dubbed denizens.
Scientists in Thailand have dubbed a newly discovered species of parasitoid wasp (similar to the one pictured here) Aleiodes gaga, in honour of Lady Gaga. While the tribute's motivations aren't immediately clear, some suspect the researchers are just hijacking Mother Monster's popularity to attract attention to an innovative DNA barcoding technique used to validate the discovery of this wasp.
Everyone recognises the bunny icon made infamous by Hugh Hefner's Playboy empire, but few know that an endangered marshland rabbit (similar to our pal here) was named after the indefatigable ladies man. Hef's organisation has donated charitably to researchers who are looking to ensure the survival of Sylvilagus palustri hefneri, once abundant in the southeastern United States.
In the '90s, a species of tree frog discovered in northern Columbia, Dendropsophus stingi (similar to the variety seen here), was named after the Police frontman for his commitment to rainforest preservation. The Rainforest Fund was founded in 1989 by the 'Roxanne' crooner and his wife, Trudie Styler, after they witnessed the destruction of the Amazon firsthand.
Two former Cornell entomologists were in charge of naming 65 new species of slime-mould beetles (like the one pictured here) in 2005. Three of the bugs, which feast on fungi-like mould, were named after the year's Bush-era figureheads: A. bushi, A. rumsfeldi, and A. cheneyi. Researchers insist the politicians were honored 'out of admiration for their principles,' says LiveScience, 'not because they look like beetles.'
The Comedy Central host has a habit of 'shamelessly' asking the scientific community to name things after him. So, on his 45th birthday, the same scientists responsible for christening A. cheneyi granted the comedian's wish by crowning a new species of Venezuelan diving beetle Agaporomorphus colberti. Colbert was thrilled, though he lamented that his namesake wasn't a 'laser lion.'
Earlier this year, says LiveScience, a rare horse fly discovered in northeast Queensland, Australia, was named after the former Destiny's Child singer for its defining feature: 'A big gold butt.' Scaptia beyonceae boasts dense gold furs on its abdomen, and spends most of its time fluttering around, pollinating plants like a hummingbird. Some researchers consider it the 'all-time diva of flies.'
The Rolling Stones' ageless frontman is not technically prehistoric, but paleontologists have long had a weird affinity for him. In 1995, a newly discovered species of trilobite (like the one pictured here) was named aegrotocatellus jaggeri after the gyrating rock singer responsible for hits like 'Get Off of My Cloud.' The Latin word aegrotocatellus translates to 'sick puppy.'
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