A LIST OF THE MOST HILARIOUSLY-NAMED CREATURES ON EARTH, and the surprising stories behind their names.
10. The Colon Rectum
What is it? A cute little beetle. A leiodid beetle, to be precise. All it wants is some fungus to eat and a little respect from its neighbors. Is that too much to ask?
The Colon rectum, in all its glory.
What it comes off as: Only the single most overworked/under-appreciated tag team in the entire digestive system: The colon and the rectum.
And you thought Uranus sounded funny.
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because of some smart-ass entomologist named Melville Harrison Hatch, Ph.D. (an entomologist named Hatch!) who also happened to be a leading authority on beetles and beetles trivia throughout the Old Timey era of butt-jokes.
Rumor has it he also wrote for The Smoking Jacket on the side.
Since Dr. Hatch spent a lot of time working with beetles from his college years to the 30s, this meant he also spent a lot of time familiarizing himself with the genus Colon, shortened from colonid: “Belonging to a colony.”
We like to think he called this one the Colon magnum.
The Colon rectum will continue to serve as a shining example as to how you can be something as nerdy as an entomologist and still be the life of every off-campus kegger.
The silver lining: Although some ‘humorless’ catalogers tried to omit the Colon rectum from their records, Dr. Hatch was too good at his job to lose the fight for his butt-joke. The man was a genius, and his reputation among the best in his field. The Colon rectum is here to stay… along with its brothers the Colon grossum and the Colon monstrosum.
9. The Bone-eating Snot-flower
What is it? Osedax mucofloris, a literal “bone-eating snot-flower.”
What it comes off as: A string of insults that aquatic lifeforms use.
“You laughing now, you bone-eating snot-flower! Huh? Are you!”
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because the bone-eating snot-flower has an unusually shitty lot in life not unlike the dung-beetle or the street prostitute, only with an even more embarrassing name. You see, humans take for granted how awesome it is to be Homo sapien, or “wise man.” We get to build cathedrals, watch pornography, and occasionally do both at the same time.
The bone-eating snot-flower, on the other hand is a “zombie worm”–seriously, that’s what they call it–and its job on this planet is to eat the bones of dead whales on the bottom of the ocean. As for their snot problem, that is probably a defense mechanism. Why is that, you might ask? According to the dudes with Ph.Ds in Marine Biology: “They are quite snotty.”
Like this, only coming out of its nose.
However, that doesn’t explain why the hell said experts have to call them “zombies” even though they are clearly living creatures that happen to feed on dead bodies. That would be like scientists renaming maggots “corpse-eating yellow-bellies” from the genus Buggers, or the common blue butterfly, “shit-eating dingle-fairies,” simply because they practice coprophagia.
They eat shit.
The silver lining: On the plus-side, female bone-eating snot-flowers enslave their males to pleasure them in harems.
8. The ‘Fuck-off-and-die’ Beetle
What is it? Foadia pakaluk, a beetle.
What it comes off as: A beetle within the “Fuck-off-and-die” genus.
Like this, only one really pissed off beetle.
Why the fuck did they name it this? According to the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature: “No author should propose a name that, to his or her knowledge or reasonable belief, would be likely to give offense on any grounds.” That’s right, there actually exists a zoological oath of office to keep people from naming animals shit like Foadia P\akaluk, better known as the “Fuck off and die” beetle. The insect was named in 1985 by one hell of a pissed bug-doctor named J. Pakaluk, and word is deliberately.
The silver lining: Since Pakaluk demonstrated that the ICZN code of conduct does not cover acronyms, it’s only a matter of time before the WTF beetle makes an appearance…
Totally not Photoshopped.
…And the dreaded BAMF beetle.
7. Carmenelectra Shechisme
What is it? An amber-fossilized mythicmyiid (moth).
What it comes off as: “Carmen Electra, she kiss me.”
Why the fuck did they name it this? We weren’t joking. That’s why.
The silver lining: While it is essentially the zoological equivalence of this…
…At least nobody snapped a picture of it.
6. Ninjemys Oweni
What is it? A really big, fossilized turtle.
From Feudal Japan?
What it comes off as: Ninjamize Owen?
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because the truth is a million times cooler. Ninjemys oweni translates into “Owen’s Ninja Turtle.”
The silver lining: Not only does there exist a real life Ninja Turtle, even if just in fossilized form, “Ninja” is now in the Latin dictionary.
5. The Mojoceratops
What is it? One of these…
What it comes off as: One of these…
Why the fuck did they name it this? It started off as a joke until they realized how awesome it sounded.
The silver lining: Paleontology just became infinitely more awesome.
4. Phycomyces Blakesleeanus
What is it? A spore-bearing fungus which is extremely sensitive to light named in honor of American botanist Albert Francis Blakeslee.
What it comes off as: A spore-bearing fungus which is extremely sensitive to light… which might explain why it resides in Albert Francis Blakeslee’s anus.
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because the guy who got to name it, Hans Burgeff, was apparently familiar with Blakeslee’s extensive research into the sexuality of fungi. In fact, Burgeff actually knew Blakeslee so intimately that he chose to name this light-fearing fungus after him. As for why he chose to name it after Blakeslee’s asshole in particular, one reason may be that he probably did not like him very much.
The silver lining: Phycomyces blakesleeanus ended up becoming really, really important, and was the subject of Nobel laureate Max Delbrück’s research in the 1950s. Because of this, Albert Francis Blakeslee with likely carry this honor for a very long time.
3. Agathidium Bushi, A. Cheneyi, A. Rumsfeldi…
What are they? A series of beetles named by former Cornell entomologists Dr. Kelly B. Miller and Dr. Quentin D. Wheeler.
What they comes off as:
The shitty beetles.
Why the fuck did they name them this? Because they thought it would be funny to name some beetles after who they considered some of the most influential political figures in history. They went on to add, “We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular.” President Bush shared his appreciation.
The Entomology Department at Cornell University.
However, it is worth nothing that this honor was short-lived. Once Democrats found out that Agathidium bushi, A. cheneyi and A. rumsfeldi were “slime-bold beetles,” they decided they would be cool with that as well.
The silver lining: Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld may have turned out to be assholes, but at least the doctors got to save face by naming one bug after the Dark Lord of the Sith before skipping town.
2. The Oedipus Complex
What is it? A motherfucking salamander.
What it comes off as: A motherfucking salamander.
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because it’s genus is taken from the Latin Oedipina, which was originally named Oedipus back in 1868. As for noted herpetologist Emmett Reid Dunn’s identification of the Oedipus complex, he was either having some fun on the clock or suffering from the single biggest Freudian slip in zoological history.
Unfortunately, somebody must have caught on to Dunn since the genus Oedipus was later changed to Oedipina, thus putting a cock-block on Dunn’s delightful double entendre. Actually, double entendre… who are we kidding? The dude named a salamander the Oedipus complex.
The silver lining: The joke survived.
1. The Australian Laughing Jackass
What is it? Dacelo novaeguineae, the laughing kookaburra: a smart-ass bird renown for his laughing call/knife skills.
What it comes off as: Either the stupidest foreign exchange student you ever met, or the life of every toga party.
This shit killed the Greek philosopher Chrysippus. Seriously.
Why the fuck did they name it this? Because if you have ever been fortunate enough to hear a braying donkey in person, it is pretty hysterical. These birds sound just like them… only like a thousand times funnier.
The silver lining: Just give this a listen. If you have ever seen any movie that takes place in a jungle, you have heard these bastards laughing at you for not getting as much ass as they do. They’re fucking movie stars.
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