Scientists, like everyone else, have a sense of humour. (It’s just that sometimes their ‘in-jokes’ may come across as somewhat incomprehensible.) And taxonomy seems to offer fertile ground to indulge that wit. What else can you think, when there’s a tiny tiny snail with the genus name Ittibittium; a fly called Pieza kake (say it out loud); and a trilobite with the binomial name Han solo (yes, seriously!). And yes, there’s more – you’ll find a more extensive list here (thanks to Mark Willoughby for sending me the link). In fact, such punny names (sorry, couldn’t resist it!) turn out to be surprisingly common.
It’s not just the biologists; chemists seem to have enjoyed coming up with funny names for new chemical compounds. Moronic acid, anyone? You’ll find a lengthy list at Molecules with Silly or Unusual Names – but you may wish to exercise a little discretion as to whether you wish to call some of the names out loud 🙂