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Celebrity Species: Bugs With Star Names

Earlier this week the entomology world collided with Hollywood when a new species of parasitic wasp was named after a character that Uma Thurman made famous in the Tarantino film, Kill Bill. James Plafke from Geek explains, “The wasp was granted the assassin’s name because it not only follows a deadly lifestyle, but bears a resemblance to Kiddo’s iconic yellow and black jumpsuit from the movies.”

This is not the first case of something non human being named after a celebrity. Carnegie Deli has made an art form out of naming deli items after stars that have frequented their restaurant. (The “Woody Allen” is a popular choice!) It has become somewhat common for new flowers to be named after celebrities. Laws also take on famous names. The Steven Tyler Act is a recent one that has been in the news.

Check out this list of celebrities and the species (mostly insects) named after them.
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  • Celebrity Species 1 of 21
    Celebrity Species
    Do these species look like the celebrities that they are named after?
  • Uma Thurman 2 of 21
    Uma Thurman
    Image Credit: PCN
  • cystomastacoides kiddo 3 of 21
    cystomastacoides kiddo

    In 2013, researchers named a new species of parasitic wasp, Cystomastacoides kiddo, after Uma's Kill Bill character, stating that the naming was inspired by "the deadly biology [of the wasp] to the host

    Image Credit: Geek

  • Beyonce 4 of 21
    Beyonce
    Image Credit: PCN
  • scaptia beyonceae 5 of 21
    scaptia beyonceae

    The Scaptia beyonceae, a rare species of horse fly found in Queensland, Australia, was named after the American singer Beyonce, in January. Scientist Bryan Lessard said it was "the unique dense golden hairs on the fly's abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer".

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Kate Winslet 6 of 21
    Kate Winslet
    Image Credit: PCN
  • agra katewinsletae 7 of 21
    agra katewinsletae

    The Agra katewinsletae was named after actress Kate Winslet because of her role in the film Titanic. Terry Erwin, the entomologist who discovered the beetle, explained that he was alluding to the threat posed to the beetle by deforestation. 

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Liv Tyler 8 of 21
    Liv Tyler
    Image Credit: PCN
  • agra liv 9 of 21
    agra liv

    The carabid beetle, Agra liv, was named after Liv Tyler because of her role in the movie  Armageddon.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Arnold Schwarzenegger 10 of 21
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Image Credit: PCN
  • agra schwarzeneggeri 11 of 21
    agra schwarzeneggeri

    Agra schwarzeneggeri is a species of carabid beetle named after the famous muscle man because the beetle has what looks like bicepts. 

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Catherine Bell 12 of 21
    Catherine Bell
    Image Credit: PCN
  • agra catbellae 13 of 21
    agra catbellae

    Terry L. Erwin & D.H. Kavanaugh discovered Agra catbellae in Costa Rica in 2002

    Image Credit: Alexander Wild

  • Angelina Jolie 14 of 21
    Angelina Jolie
    Image Credit: PCN
  • angelinajolieae 15 of 21
    angelinajolieae

    Aptostichus angelinajolieae is a species of trapdoor spider. It is found on coastal dunes of Northern California.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Stephen Colbert 16 of 21
    Stephen Colbert
    Image Credit: PCN
  • agaporomorphus-colberti 17 of 21
    agaporomorphus-colberti

    As a birthday gift in 2009, Arizona state University researchers named a species of diving beetle Agaporomorphus Colberti, to honor Colbert.

    Image Credit: ASU News

  • Mick Jagger 18 of 21
    Mick Jagger
    Image Credit: PCN
  • aegrotocatellus-jaggeri 19 of 21
    aegrotocatellus-jaggeri

    Aegrotocatellus Jaggeri is a species of trilobite in the order Phacopida, which existed in what is now Nunavut, Canada. It was named by Adrain and Edgecombe in 1995.

    Image Credit: Wikimedia

  • Harrison Ford 20 of 21
    Harrison Ford
    Image Credit: PCN
  • pheidole harrisonfordi 21 of 21
    pheidole harrisonfordi

    Pheidole harrisonfordi is found in Honduras and Belize, and discovered by Harvard University researcher E.O Wilson. It is named after Harrison as a tribute to his efforts to raise awareness about conservation. Harrison also used to be a carpenter...and there are carpenter ants...just saying. 

    Image Credit: Bloomberg

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