Sometimes scientists really love to show their sense of humor. Whether it's a common name or a Latin name, certain species are bestowed with names that are simply silly. Sometimes they're descriptive, which just shows how strangely interesting the animal is in and of itself. And sometimes the name sounds like it's straight from a children's fiction story. Here are some of our favorites.
Wunderpus photogenicus: Yep, that's right. Try saying that without a circus announcer's voice. Actually, the spots of this rare octopus species (pictured above and below) are unique to each animal, which means photos help researchers identify individuals. But still ... Wuuuuunderpuuus phoootogennnicusssssss!
Spiny lumpsucker: And a lumpy-looking sucker it is. The lumpsucker uses modified pelvic fins that have evolved into adhesive discs to stick itself onto a surface like a rock, or as the second photo below, onto fingers.
Pleasing fungus beetle: There's not just one, but about 1,800 known species of this (relatively) pleasing-looking beetle that is indeed usually found feeding on the fruits of fungi.
Pink fairy armadillo: It exists! And it's cute!! Forget about unicorns; we don't need any when we have pink fairy armadillos. And they are literally pink. It's impossible to look at this and not think it is straight from a fantasy novel.
Raspberry crazy ant: Not sweet. And not cute. But definitely crazy. This invasive species is originally from South Africa, but it's slowly spreading across Texas and the Southeast. It's named for the exterminator, Tom Raspberry, who first noticed them in 2002.
Satanic leaf-tailed gecko: OK, maybe this name isn't so ridiculous. One look at this guy and yes, one might agree he seems a bit on the evil-possessed side.
Tasseled wobbegong: Need we say more? Well maybe just this: it's a species of carpet shark. (Not that being a carpet shark helps matters much...)
Hellbender: Nothing says fierce quite like a gigantic slippery salamander, right? Well, maybe not so much. That's why it needs a name like "Hellbender."
Photo: Brian Gratwicke/flickr
Chicken turtle: No joke, it's because that's how it tastes.
Star-nosed mole: A practical name, to be sure, based on the shape of the schnoz. But still.
Blobfish: Yep. Blobfish. Zero points for creativity on this one but, well, it's a fish and it's a blob so why not.
Photo: s i b e r/Flickr
Red-lipped batfish: Now we're talking! A fish that's painted up like a tartlet and has fins that kinda look like bat wings. Descriptive name, but ridiculous nonetheless.
Photo: Rein Ketelaars/wikipedia
Goblin shark: Because goblins.
Photo: Dianne Bray/Museum Victoria/wikipedia
Hummingbird hawk-moth: Not one but two types of bird species go in to naming this moth species.
Photo: Mircea BEZERGHEANU/Shutterstock
Leafy seadragon: A dragon that looks like a leafy branch and lives under the sea. Why not?
Photo: Michael Warwick/Shutterstock
Photo: Jason Mintzer/Shutterstock
Frill-necked lizard: This guy looks like he deserves a name with more ferocity. But nope. He's just frilly.
Photo: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock
Photo: Teguh Tirtaputra/Shutterstock
Mustached puffbird: Nope, not an Angry Birds character. Just a puffy bird with a 'stache.
Photo: Julian Londono/Wikipedia
Ice cream cone worm: Not nearly as appetizing as the name implies. Ice cream cone? Seriously?
Photo: Hans Hillewaert/Wikipedia
Strange-tailed tyrant: Not that strange — just a couple of giant rogue feathers. It's more that this little guy is considered a tyrant that makes the name so ridiculous.
Fried egg jellyfish: Breakfast, anyone? All that's needed is a slice of sourdough toast.
Screaming hairy armadillo: Armadillo? Check. Hairy? Check. Screaming? And, check!
Photo: Arnaud Boucher/Wikipedia
And don't think the list ends here! There are plenty more oddball names we'd love to have included, from the whimsical monkeyface prickleback and bone-eating snot-flower worm, to the more formal-sounding Ittibittium and Ytu brutus, to the just plain silly Venezuelan poodle moth, Gelae baen and slightly musical conehead. If you'd like to discover more of science's humorous side, start out with Encyclopedia of Life's list of species with funny English names and go from there.