Sir David Attenborough: Materpiscis attenboroughi


    The armored fish Materpiscis is the oldest-known fossil mother. An adult female placoderm with the fossil of an embryo and intact mineralised umbilical chord inside her bones is one of seven species named after Sir David Attenborough.


    Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Museum Victoria

    Steve Irwin: Trypanosoma irwini

    The microscopic Trypanosoma irwini, a koala blood parasite is one of three species named after Steve Irwin.

    Photo Credit: Dr. Linda McInnes

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Arthurdactylus


    While the Scottish author is best known for creating legendary detective Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel The Lost World was what inspired scientists to name a genus of pterodactyloid pterosaur in his honour. It was found on a remote plateau in South America’s Amazon Rainforest.

    Photo Credit: Robert Loveridge

    Sir David Attenborough: Blakea attenboroughi


    This Ecuadorian flowering tree, is one of seven species named after famed naturalist Sit David Attenborough.

    Photo Credit: Lou Jost

    The Crikey steveirwini is a species of land snail found in northeastern Queensland and named after Steve Irwin.

    Photo Credit: Buck Richardson

    Prince Charles: Hyloscirtus princecharlesi


    After His Royal Highness’ noble charity work to protect the rainforest habitat, he was recognised by becoming the namesake of a unique species of Ecuadorian tree frog. While there are unfortunately a severely limited number of the frogs left alive after massive deforestation in the area, two are currently being bred in captivity in hopes to boost the population.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    Terri Irwin: Leichhardteus terriirwinae


    The small spider (7mm) is fast, lean and smart, and named in honour of Terri Irwin. Only one individual of this species has ever been found, and it was located in the rainforest area of Mt Aberdeen in northeast Queensland.

    Photo Credit: Queensland Museum

    Sir David Attenborough: Attenborosaurus


    British naturalist and television host Sir David Attenborough has inspired the names of a whopping seven species, including this Attenborosaurus, a Plesiosaur.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    James Cook: Captaincookia


    Explorer James Cook was the first British man to lay eyes on New Caledonia, and it seems a little piece of him will remain there. A large, deep red flowering plant in the Rubiacea family was named in his honour. Unfortunately, this endemic plant is critically endangered.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    Dick Smith: Litokoala dicksmithi


    There have been 18 extinct koala species unearthed in Australia, and for number 18, which was discovered in Riversleigh World Heritage Centre in northwestern Queensland, scientists were inspired to put a unique Aussie spin on it. Dick Smith, founder and patron of Australian Geographic, is now the namesake for one of the most complete koala fossils ever found.

    Photo Credit: Dorothy Dunphy

    Arnold Schwarzenegger: Agra schwarzeneggeri


    There are more than 600 species in the Agra genus and it seems more of their names are puns than are not. So when entomologist Terry Erwin discovered a beetle in the Agra genus that had exceptionally large biceps, he knew he had to pay tribute to one of the most famous set of muscles in the world: Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Photo Credit: Karolyn Darrow

    Darth Vader: Agathidium vaderi


    Quentin Wheeler, the director of the International Institute for Species Exploration in the United States, is something of a legend when it comes to naming species after celebrities. One of his most celebrated is a slime beetle that he appropriate named after one of the most infamous villains in movie history. Both the beetle and Darth Vader have black, broad shiny heads.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    Beyonce: Captia beyonceae


    While American singer Beyoncé has no tie to Australia, scientist Bryan Lessard said he could not help himself when he discovered a horsefly in Queensland that had “unique dense golden hairs on its abdomen.”

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    Sir David Attenborough: Ctenocheloides attenboroughi

    If the number of species named after you is proportional to your respect in the scientific community, no one is more cherished than British naturalist and television host Sir David Attenborough, who has seven species named after him, including the Ctenocheloides (Ghost shrimp from Madagascar).

    Photo Credit: Anker & Pachelle 2013

    Steve Irwin: Elseya irwini


    The Elseya irwini, better known as Irwin’s turtle, was actually discovered by Irwin himself in 1997

    Photo Credit: Shannon Gilmore 2012

    Sir David Attenborough: Nepenthes attenboroughii


    This bell-shaped plant is one of the largest carnivourous pitchered plants in the world and of seven species named after Sir David Attenborough.

    Photo Credit: Wikimedia

    Pink Floyd: Pinkfloydia harveii


    While the infamous experimental rock band Pink Floyd has no intrinsic connection with Australia, that didn’t stop biologists from George Washington University in Washington DC from naming a spider found in Western Australia after them.

    Photo Credit: Dr. Gustavo Hormiga

Gallery: Species named after famous people

By AG STAFF | April 9, 2014

While many species names hark from descriptions or notable features of the organism there’s also the opportunity for scientists to name a species after a person, though it’s etiquette not to name a species after yourself. Here are some species names after more notable famous people.