Ba Humbugi! Let’s Nameus That Speciesus

Henry Fountain in the New York Times:

Scientists may be serious people, engaged in the pursuit of objective truth. But when it comes to naming species, they often let their hair down.

So the insect world has Heerz tooya, Apopyllus now and Pieza pi and Pieza rhea, among thousands of puns and other oddities. (In science, all creatures are binomial, with a capitalized genus name followed by a lower-case species name.) The oceans are home to Ittibittium, a genus of mollusks that are smaller than those named Bittium. There are species named for body parts and bodily functions, for celebrities, painters and writers, for cartoon characters and favorite sports. For those who find it to be all too much, there is even Ba humbugi, a snail from Fiji.

More here.