Top Ten Arthropods Whose Names Need to Change

This is The ArthroBlogger‘s 50th post! Instead of discussing one particular arthropod today, I decided to do something a little different for such a special occasion: today, we’re going to take at look at some of the worst arthropod names I could find and try to fix them. Let’s begin with the amusing but nonsensical Gelae fish:

10. Gelae fish

Ha-ha, “jellyfish,” I get it. The problem is, this guy isn’t a jellyfish, or even a cnidarian, or even a fish – it’s a beetle. AND it’s not even a water beetle! Punny, but nonsensical. I’m renaming it Gelae andjam to fit in with the food theme the rest of this genus seems to have going on – it’s still a bit silly, but at least there’s some consistency now.

A rather fluffy tarantula photographed by philsown on Flickr

9. Tarantula

There’s nothing inherently wrong with the name “tarantula” except that it tends to instill terror in the heart of every arachnophobe who hears it. Let’s call them porcupine spiders instead, since they can shoot their hairs the way people think porcupines do! I’m not sure whether it’ll cure anyone’s fear of big spiders, but it certainly brings an interesting image to mind.

8. Giant cicada

So this fella is considerably large as far as cicadas go, but it’s not the largest cicada on this continent. It’s actually runner-up to the northern dusk singing cicada, and since that one doesn’t have a size-related name, I don’t think it makes much sense for this guy to have one, either. Therefore, I dub this cicada the screaming cicada. I was tempted to call it the Texas cicada since that’s the only state it lives in, but if you listen to its “song” (scroll down to Quesada gigas on this website), I think you’ll agree with my decision.

7. Eubetia bigaulie

Yoo-beht-cha bi-gahl-ee. Say it out loud.

…Actually never mind, I kinda like this one.

6. Agra vation

Rude. I’m sure the poor beetle isn’t that aggravating. I think we can all agree that if anything is going to be called Agra vation it should be mosquitoes. We’ll call this fella Agra dable instead, as I’m sure it’s actually rather friendly in person.

A giant isopod, courtesy of cifraser1 on Flickr

5. Giant isopod

I plan to make a post about these guys in the near future, so I’ll try not to give too much away now, but for obvious reasons we must rename them Godzilla mulch lobsters.

4. Odorous house ants

Again, rude. First of all, the ants only smell bad when you squish them, so the stench is 100% not their fault. Second of all, this website says they smell like coconuts, so really we should call them coconut ants. Third of all, these ants have no idea what a coconut is, and I don’t want the name encouraging people to squish them just to get a whiff of their odd scent. Instead I’m going to call them wandering ants, because they live in the abandoned nests of other arthropods or under natural shelters rather than building the traditional underground ant colony.

3. Edible crab

…That’s it? “Edible crab”? That’s not very creative, there are lots of edible crabs. Nope, we shall call it the pie crab for the, as this website calls it, “pie crust edge” around its carapace. Still food related, but it gives the poor crustacean a bit more individuality.

A beautiful photograph of the not-so-beautifully named swamp darner by Judy Gallagher on Flickr

2. Swamp darner

No. Absolutely not. You cannot give other dragonflies elegant names like blue dasher, eastern amberwing and autumn meadowhawk and then just call this poor, beautiful species the generic “swamp darner.” No sirree. I’m calling this gorgeous creature the sapphire-eyed darner for its gemstone-like eyes. Swamp darner… what’s next, sky birds? My goodness.

1. Pterotus obscuripennis

I can’t believe this thing doesn’t have a common name. Does that mean we can legitimately name it? If so, let’s call it the reindeer firefly for those elegant antennae. Better yet, why not the Rudolph beetle? The “antlers,” the glowing; it’s absolutely perfect. Everyone write your local taxonomists, or whoever’s in charge of this stuff.

And there you have it! Ten arthropods whose names should be changed – or, at least in the case of #1, arthropods who need a name in the first place. If y’all know some more arthropods who need rebranding, or if there are any other comically-named arthropods you’d like to share, please comment below! And absolutely share how you would rename them as well.

One Comment on “Top Ten Arthropods Whose Names Need to Change

  1. Pingback: Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Tarantula? – The ArthroBlogger

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