CBS's hit comedy series "The Big Bang Theory" has just received one of the geekiest accolades possible: its own species of bee.
The ratings juggernaut, which is averaging over 19 million viewers an episode during its current sixth season, inspired biologist Andre Nemesio to name a new species of Brazilian orchid bee "Euglossa bazinga" - after a catchphrase used by one of the main characters. From the paper announcing the discovery:
The specific epithet honors the clever, funny, captivating “nerd” character Sheldon Cooper, brilliantly portrayed by the North American actor James Joseph “Jim” Parsons on the CBS TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. Sheldon Cooper’s favorite comic word “bazinga”, used by him when tricking somebody, was here chosen to represent the character. Euglossa bazinga sp. n. has tricked us for some time due to its similarity to E. ignita, what led us to use “bazinga”. Sheldon Cooper has also an asteroid named after him (246247 Sheldoncooper).
In response to the honor, "Big Bang" executive producer Steven Molaro said they were extremely flattered to be once again embraced by the scientific community. “Sheldon would be honored to know that Euglossa bazinga was inspired by him," he said in a statement. "In fact, after Mothra and griffins, bees are his third-favorite flying creatures.”
By naming the orchid bee after a pop culture hit, Nemesio is hopeful that more attention can be raised on the poorly understood species — and its rapidly declining habitat. You can learn more about the remarkable relationship between orchids and orchid bees in the video below.
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