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Nutty Nomenclature

Nutty Nomenclature

All species of organism are given their own specific name by the taxonomist who first describes them.  Every now and again the taxonomists allow themselves to have a little bit of fun.  This is our guide to some more mischievously named species.

Funkotriplogynium iagobadius

Don’t get it? Iago = James, badius = Brown, put it together and you've got the King of Funk.

What is it?
A mite.

Where is found? Australia.

When was it first named? 1997.

Who deserves the credit? Renowned acarologists (mite scientists) Owen Seeman and Dave Walter named the species, but we mustn't forget the far-sightedness of Indian taxonomist Asok Kumar Datta who named the genus back in 1985.

Rust mite, image courtesy Erbe, Pooley: USDA, ARSIs there a picture? Unfortunately not. This chap to the right (click the image to enlarge) is a rust mite, and a fine looking chap he is too. Taxonomists have so far described over 45,000 species of mite but there may be as many as a million different species all eking out their own little niche. Whilst some species of mite can be pests (e.g. causing allergies in people and mange in dogs) others are beneficial, acting as biocontrol agents and waste decomposers. It was recently found that the species Archegozetes longisetosus is one of the strongest animals in the world, pound for pound. It can lift things 1180 times its own body weight. That's roughly equivalent to a twelve stone man lifting twelve elephants - mitey!

Check out some other weird species names

Null's other regular features:

Phunny Phobias
Wednesday: Doctor Doctor
Thursday: Peculiar Periodicals
Friday: End of week timewasters
Title image: James Brown
Main image: Courtesy, Erbe, Pooley: USDA, ARS, EMU.

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18 Dec 2009
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