- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
There's a fairy moth named Adela thorpella. Its namesake: native pollinator specialist Robbin Thorp, emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.
Who wouldn't want to be Adela thorpella? The name just rolls off the tongue.
There's a parasitic orchid bee named Exaerte kimseyae. Its namesake: Lynn Kimsey, director of the Bohart Museum of Entomology and professor of entomology at UC Davis.
It is a metallic green. Kimsey says it does not look like her.
There's a strange-looking ant named Pyramica warditeras. Its namesake: Phil Ward, professor of entomology at UC Davis and a noted ant specialist. The species name translates from Greek to mean "Ward's monster."
You wouldn't want to meet a gorilla-sized Pyramica warditeras in a dark alley on a dark and stormy night.
Ah, the naming of insects...If you've ever had a burning desire to learn how newly discovered insects are named, be sure to attend the open house at the Bohart Museum of Entomology, UC Davis, from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14. The Bohart Museum, home of a global collection of more than seven millions specimens, is located in Room 1124 of Academic Surge, corner of California Drive and LaRue Road, UC Davis campus.
Naming insects can also take on a humorous tone. Kimsey collects what she calls "silly scientific names." She didn't name the critters; she just collects the names.
Here are some of them:
Agra cadabra Erwin (carabid beetle)
Agra vation Erwin (carabid beetle)
Agra phobia Erwin (carabid beetle)
Castnia inca dincadu Miller 1972 (castniid moth)
Chrysops balzaphire Philip, 1955 (deer fly) ”balls of fire”
Cyclocephala nodanotherwon Ratcliffe (scarab beetle) “not another one”
Eubetia bigaulae Brown (tortricid moth) pronounced "you betcha by golly"
Heerz tooya Marsh, 1993 (braconid wasp) “here’s to ya”
La cucaracha Blesynski, 1966 (pyralid moth)
Lalapa lusa Pate, 1947 (tiphiid wasp)
Ochisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Oh kiss me”
Dolichisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Dolly kiss me”
Florichisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Flori kiss me”
Marichisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Mary kiss me”
Nanichisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Nanie kiss me”
Peggichisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Peggie kiss me”
Polychisme Kirkaldy, 1904 (true bug) “Poly kiss me” [Kirkaldy was criticized for frivolity by the London Zoological Society in 1912].
Ohmyia omya Thompson, 1999 (syrphid fly) “oh my oh my’a”
Phthiria relativitae Evenhuis, 1985 (bombyliid fly) “theory’a relativity”
Pieza kake Evenhuis, 2002 (mythicomyiid fly) “piece a cake”
Pieza pi Evenhuis, 2002 (mythicomyiid fly) “pizza pie” or “piece’a pie”
Pieza rhea Evenhuis, 2002 (mythicomyiid fly) “pizzaria”
Pison eu Menke, 1988 (sphecid wasp) – I’ll leave this to your imagination
Tabanus rhizonshine Philip, 1954 (horse fly) “rise ’n shine”
Verae peculya Marsh, 1993 (braconid wasp) “very peculiar”
Ytu brutus Spangler, 1980 (water beetle)
To all those, i add "You betcha, by golly!" (Eubetia bigaulae Brown (tortricid moth)