5 other species named as geek tributes
The now infamous Greedo fish is sweeping the interwebs, but he certainly didn’t shoot first! Many a remarkable species bears the namesake of an awesomely geeky counterpart. In fact, this isn’t even the first specimen to be named after a Star Wars character! Here are 5 other amazing species named as appropriate geek tributes:
5. Calponia and Pheidole harrisonfordi, named for actor (and activist) Harrison Ford
It would be easy to assume the reason Harrison Ford has a spider species named after him is because of his role as Indiana Jones and the association between the adventurer and caverns, crypts, and all manner of locations that are packed with spiders, snakes, and worse. The honor, however, comes to Ford as a result not of his Silver Screen adventures but his real life activism.
In 1993 an American arachnologist, Norman Platnick, wanted to honor Ford for his activism, prominence in the conservation community, and for narrating a documentary for the Natural History Museum in London. Platnick did so by naming a newly discovered Californian spider after Ford, the Calponia harrisonfordi. Ford’s conservation work never slowed down and almost a decade later entomologist Edward Wilson named a new species of ant, Pheidole harrisonfordi, after the busy actor.
4. Agra schwarzeneggeri, the beetle with ‘biceps’ like Arnold Schwarzenegger
Harrison Ford was not the first, or last actor to become immortalized by science.
Agra schwarzeneggeri, discovered in 2002 by T.L. Erwin, is a species of carabid beetle found in Costa Rica. Named after Arnold Schwarzenegger, the species porting a significantly developed middle femora, which resembles a bulging bicep, not unlike the bodybuilder/actor/governor.
3. Ampulex dementor, the ‘soul-sucking’ wasp named after Harry Potter‘s Dementors
In 2014, the Natural History Museum in Berlin let the public vote on a name for a Southeast Asia wasp, known for its ability to turn cockroaches into zombies with one sting.
“Our public voting of a taxonomic name was received very positively,” authors wrote in the paper. “Visitors were highly interested and during the event spent a significant amount of time asking for details and listening to explanations.”
It’s no wonder that museum visitors chose this unique reference to one of the world’s most popular fantasy books, based on the shadowy prison guards of Azkaban that are dementors, likewise, also literally suck the life out of their prey – only they use a kiss of death.
2. Euglossa bazinga, named after Big Bang Theory character Sheldon Cooper’s catch phrase
“Once again, you’ve fallen for one of my classic pranks. Bazinga!”
Sheldon Cooper rarely jests on NBC’s The Big Bang Theory, but when he does, you’ll know it by the use of the word “bazinga.” Synonymous with “gotcha,” his catchphrase of choice has taken on a life of its own since Sheldon first uttered it in Season 2.
In 2013 the word got a new claim to fame when Brazilian biologist Andre Nemesio said he named the species of Brazilian orchid bee Euglossa bazinga. A fan of the show, Nemesio explained that naming the species in honor of “the clever, funny, nerdy character Sheldon Cooper,” was the perfect choice because the bee had tricked scientists for some time with its similarity to other species.
1. Yoda purpurata, named because of its resemblance to the Jedi Master
They may not be green but they do live in an ocean far, far away, and now they share the same moniker as the diminutive Jedi in Star Wars.
In 2012 researchers discovered four new enteropneusts, or acorn worms species, 1.5 miles under the Atlantic Ocean during a survey of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Named by Nick Holland, the leading authority on the creatures, the reddish-purple specimen with large appendages on either side of its ‘head’ reminded researchers of floppy-eared Yoda while pupurata is Latin for purple and describes its colorful hue. May the Force be with them!