Animals and plants whose scientific names are after fictional characters

Many scientific names for fauna and flora hails from various sources. Some of them even happen to be popular fictional characters. Read on to know more.

In December of 2012, Brazilian scientists named a new species of bees, Euglossabazinga. Sounds familiar, isn’t it? Thesebees have been named after a popular catchphrase from the sitcom, The Big Bang Theory. The tradition of naming many organisms and plants after pop-culture inspired names is not a new thing. Now the question arises that why do so many species of plants, and animals get named after fictional characters from movies and TV shows? The answer is simple because that is what generates thegeneral public and media’s interest. In this time and age, as public funding for research in science is drying up, any support and recognition can be a game-changer. So, here are some of the animals and plants named after fictional characters.

Oedipina Complex

A species of salamander is named after the famous Sophocles’ drama named “Oedipus Rex”. Incidentally, the name is also inspired by Sigmund Freud famous psychoanalytic theory based on the play.

Bagheera Kiplingi

A species of Jumping spider found in Central America is named after akind panther who helps the lead character Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. Interestingly, this species was described in 2009 and is known to be the only vegetarian spider known to science.

Iago Garricki

A fish with a genus finds itself named after one of the most notorious villains in the fictional world, Iago from Shakespeare’s legendary play “Othello”.


The scientific name for the earliest-known large carnivorous Dinosaur is taken from the Japanese name for Godzilla, which is Gojira.

Gollum Suluensis

The iconic character from JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” is the inspiration for the scientific name of a New Zealand’s Shark.


If you thought that the name SpongeBob SquarePants would be appropriate for a sea sponge, then think again. The name SpongiformaSquarepantsii is a variety of a mushroom that was first described in the year 2010.


The masked hero of Gotham city shares his name with a catfish species found in South America. Described by ichthyologist Pablo Lehmann named it after superhero because the tail spot on this catfish reminded it of Batman.

Tetragnatha Quasimodo

A spider species from Hawaii is named after the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s popular novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

So, which one of these names surprised you the most?

Priyadarshini Kaul

Priyadarshini Kaul Mishra has two Master’s Degrees in English Literature and History. She is actively following her passion for the language by being a content creator since many years now. Besides this, Priyadarshini is a true bookworm at heart and tries to be an avid reader despite being a full-time mother now. She is also a professionally certified baker and puts on the oven mitts every now and then.
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