Celebrity Menagerie: Animal Species Named After Famous People

By Hans A March 7, 2024

Every year, thousands of new animal species are discovered, each with special characteristics and quirks. What’s even more fascinating is that some lucky individuals have the honor of having these creatures named after them. From musicians to actors to politicians, here’s a look at some of the most intriguing cases of species named after celebrities.

Richard Dawkins Fish – Courtesy of Rahul Gautam / CC BY 4.0 / Wiki Commons

1. Richard Dawkins Fish

Imagine having an entire genus of fish named after you! That’s precisely the accolade bestowed upon renowned biologist Richard Dawkins. Discovered by Sri Lankan scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda, these fish may not be at the top of the food chain, but Dawkins couldn’t be more pleased. “There’s no such thing as an evolutionary scale,” he remarked, embracing the honor with delight.

2. Bob Marley Parasite

In the depths of the Caribbean, a tiny crustacean parasite dances to the rhythm of reggae legend Bob Marley. Named Gnathia marleyi by marine biologist Paul Sikkel, this creature pays homage to Marley’s musical prowess, showcasing the unique ways scientists express admiration for their idols.

3. Beyoncé Horse Fly

In the wilds of Australia, a rare horse fly dons golden hairs reminiscent of a pop superstar’s luster. Dubbed Scaptia beyonceae, this species shines bright with the essence of Beyoncé herself, capturing the essence of uniqueness and flair.

4. John Cleese Lemur

This beloved entertainer is immortalized in the furry form of the Madagascan Avahi cleesei. Endangered and absurdly fond of its namesake, this woolly lemur stands as a tribute to Cleese’s passion for nature conservation, bringing laughter and advocacy together in perfect harmony.

5. George Bush Beetle

Yeap, there’s a beetle named after POTUS! President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld all have beetles named in their honor. Despite political divides, this gesture from Quentin Wheeler and his team highlights the creative spirit in taxonomy.

6. Kate Winslet Beetle

In the wake of the Titanic’s tragic tale, actress Kate Winslet finds herself memorialized in the rainforests as the Agra katewinsletae beetle. Symbolizing the threat of deforestation, this elegant canopy dweller serves as a poignant reminder of nature’s fragility.

7. Adolf Hitler Beetle

Even infamy finds its place in the annals of taxonomy, as evidenced by Anophthalmus hitleri, a blind cave beetle named in honor of the infamous dictator. A relic from a darker time, this species reminds us of the somber complexities of history.

8. David Attenborough Plesiosaur

The legendary naturalist David Attenborough finds himself immortalized in prehistoric waters as the Attenborosaurus conybeari. Inspired by Attenborough’s childhood fascination with ancient sea monsters, this extinct plesiosaur pays homage to a lifelong dedication to scientific exploration.

9. Hugh Hefner Rabbit

In the marshes of the southeastern United States, the Sylvilagus palustris hefneri hops in honor of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. A symbol of conservation, this marsh rabbit embodies the spirit of its namesake’s charitable endeavors.

Courtesy of Chad Anderson/USFWS – Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit / Public Domain / Wiki Commons

10. Prince Charles Frog

Deep in the heart of Ecuador’s rainforest, the Hyloscirtus princecharlesi reigns supreme. Named after His Royal Highness Prince Charles, this tree frog symbolizes the importance of conservation efforts in preserving vital habitats.