The BIO Five
Plants & Animals Named After Celebrities
Sometimes it’s just not enough to have a street, a building or even a day named after you when you’re famous. The real test to achieving immortality is when your name has crossed over species.
In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, we've culled through a list of plants and animals named after celebrities. Here are our five current faves:
Beyoncé & Blue Ivy. Inspired by Beyoncé’s “Bootylicious” track, an Australian science researcher named a horse fly after the diva, after dually noting the insect’s golden-shaded backside and its discovery in 1981—the same year Beyoncé was born. Locals know the insect as the “gold bum fly.”
As for daughter Blue Ivy, her famous parents have never explained the true meaning behind her soon-to-be trademarked moniker, but nonetheless, various plants share her name.
Stephen Colbert. In honor of the comedian’s 45th birthday in 2009, American entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller named a Venezuelan diving beetle after Colbert. "Last year, Stephen shamelessly asked the science community to name something cooler than a spider to honor him. His top choices were a giant ant or a laser lion. While those would be cool species to discover, our research involves beetles, and they are 'way cooler' than a spider any day," Wheeler said.
President Barack Obama. President Obama has broken a lot of firsts, but being named after lichen is an exceptional one to note. In appreciation for the President’s support of science, a lichen curator from the University of California discovered the moss-like species off the Santa Rosa Islands in 2007 and named it Caloplaca obamae.
Hugh Hefner. How fitting that an endangered subspecies of Marsh Rabbit, also known as the Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit, was named after the founder of Playboy. But unlike many instances in which scientists name animals after celebrities to humor themselves and everyone else, Hefner actually funded the research program that helped identify the Floridian species in 1980.
Helen Mirren. She’s praised as one of the sexiest sexagenarian actresses in the world, thanks to her graceful beauty and her feisty, daring roles. So it’s no surprise that while other famous ladies are named after delicate flowers, the gutsy Mirren was named after a sizable carnivorous jungle plant, the Nepenthes Helen, which eats rats to survive. In May 2011, Mirren attended the Chelsea Flower Show in London to dedicate her name to the tropical plant for charity.
Lawyer, U.S. President, U.S. Representative / 1961 -
Barack Obama is the 44th and current president of the United States, and the first African American to serve as U.S. president. First elected to the presidency in 2008, he won a second term in 2012.
Film Actress, Entrepreneur, Singer / 1981 -
Beyoncé Knowles is a multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning recording artist who's acclaimed for her thrilling vocals, videos and live shows.
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