“No zoologist should propose a name that, to his knowledge, gives offense on any grounds.”
– The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
• • •
If you discovered a delicate, lemon-scented jonquil flower previously unknown to science, would you saddle it with a name like assoanus? Or designate whole genera as the Fartulum, or the Fukuia? What kind of Peniculus asinus would do that? It reminds me of parents surnamed Balls who’ve named their sons Claude. What were they thinking?
Colon grossum – a beetle, cf. Colon monstrosum
Didymella fuckeliana – a fungus
Dolichuranus primaevus – an extinct mammal-like Triassic reptile
Dorcus titanus – the giant stag beetle
Eremobates inyoanus – an arachnid native to California
Fartulum nubulosum – a marine snail
Fukuia – a genus of Japanese snails
Narcissus assoanus – a jonquil flower
Peniculus asinus – a marine copepod
Turdus migratorius – the American robin
Pinus contorta – a pine tree, cf. Pinus rigida
Pison eu – a South American wasp
Texananus delicatus – a leafhopper
You would probably like Mutinus caninus although the Latin name is not so funny in you don’t know Latin. The french common name is pretty clear, Phallus de Chien. English common name is dog stinkhorn . . .
The infamous pink pencil.
Also known as the Devil’s dipstick.
I’m surprised you left out the… intriguing morphology… of Phallusia nigra, or really the entire genus that includes P. obesa and P. mammillata
Intriguing genus for sure. But I’m not sure the Linneaun nomenclature sounds dirty enough to make the cut.
[…] This is Narcissus assoanus, a common flower found in France, Spain, and Portugal, and one of many snicker-worthy taxonomic names included on a list put together by journalist Joe Rojas-Burke. […]
And not even Amorphophallus titanum, a name which quite accurately describes the shape and size of the spadix of this plant? We need more research here.
Thing is, sometimes, the offense is not meant to be offensive. For example, Brodiaea kinkiensis isn’t into bondage. It’s a rare flower that only occurs on San Clemente Island, which was known as Kinki or Kinkipar by its original inhabitants. I’m a little surprised at inyoanus, though. Not inyoensis?
As for all the Pine (Pinus) jokes, I mean, come on. Where’s Pinus ponderosa, Pinus resinosa, Pinus flexilis, Pinus discolor, Pinus remota, Pinus longaeva, and even Pinus edulis (edulis means edible)? Only Pinus contorta, the well-known lodgepole pine? Puhleeze. Go for the overkill. After all, undergrads have been giggling about them for centuries.
I salute your connoisseurship.
My favorites in an undergrad sea anemone lab were Priapus senilis and Priapus equinus (“old man penis” and “horse penis”) — having seen specimens preserved in jars, I’d say the names were…apt.
And working in a foram lab, there were plenty of Vaginulinidae, lots of “labiosa”, etc., as the apertures can be quite…O’Keeffesque.
Very choice, indeed.