If science’s image as a dull and dry field bugs you, think again – people are finding interesting species and naming them after stars
This week saw Taxon Expeditions, a Netherlands-based biodiversity tour group, discover a 3mm water beetle and name it after actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The name they picked? Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi.
You are probably wondering, after all that trekking and research to make sure this is not just another garden-variety parasite, why not name it after yourself? According to Smithsonian.com. the father of taxonomy Carl Linnaeus decided to name species in a way that would loosen the purse strings of rich patrons. Nowadays, before a name is considered, it has to pass the rules set by the International Codes of Zoological Nomenclature. ICZN board member Judith Winston was quoted in Slate magazine describing naming a newfound species after yoursef as "tacky".
Thought DiCaprio was the only celebrity with an insect named after him? Here are other A-listers who inspired names for interesting creatures.
Species: Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni (hermit crab)
Discovered by: René Fraaije, Adiël Klompmaker and Pedro Atil
Reason for the name: In an interview with Daily Mail, the group revealed they were celebrating their discovery in a restaurant in Alsasua, Spain, when the news of Michael Jackson's death popped up on a television screen. They decided to honour the "timeless" pop legend by naming the crab after him.