Friday, November 11, 2005

Creepy Crawlies & Fancy Flora

Over hundreds of years entomological systemists and other scientists used Greek and Latin based nomenclature seriously, never once veering from the standards set by such systemist luminaries as Theophrastus and Carolus Linneas.

In 1901 a strict set of nomenclatural rules defined by the International Zoological Congress was published for scientists. It wasn't long before the a slow rebellion started. To name two...In 1912 G. W. Kirkaldy named a series of true bugs the generic names of Dolichisme, Florichisme, Marichisme, Nanichisme, Ochisme and Polychisme. When read aloud they suspiciously sounded more like...er...osculatory adventures.1947 - Pate named a wasp genus Lalapa then named the species lusa... Lalapa lusa.

It wouldn't be too much longer still when naming insects after famous fantasy and sci-fi icons.Starting around 1958 Dr. Arnold S. Menke, of the Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the U.S. National Museum and the modern master of entomological nomenclature, found his own trend of using popular cultural references in naming newly found "creepy crawlies."Year later several made it into the annals of Star Wars reference-dom. (yes, I know it's not a word)

In 1983 Menke named three wasps after Star Wars characters:
Polemistus chewbacca
Polemistus vaderi
Polemistus Yoda

Other Star Wars named creatures...named by other entomologists:
Agathidium vaderi (slime mold beetle)
Adelomyrmex vaderi Fernández (very colorful ant)
Thricops vaderi (a type of dragonfly)
Arketypon vaderi (a wasp found in Australia)
Harrison Ford, (Vice Chairman of the American Society Conservation Interanational/Han Solo/Indiana Jones) has the following named after him:
Peidole harrsonfordi - A Central American ant (Edward Wilson)
Calponia harrisonfordi - A Central Amercian spider (Edward Wilson)
Ford was also asked to name a new breed of butterfly. He chose the name Georgia, after his daughter.

Florally speaking there are several flowers named after Star Wars words:
Daylillies:
Empire Strikes Back
Jedi Codie Wedgeworth
Jedi Dot Pierce
Jedi Flamingo Kid
Jedi Free Spirit
Jedi Golden Girl
Jedi Pink Bouquet
Jedi Rose Beauty
Jedi Rose Frost
Jedi Sue McCord
Jedi Tequila Sunrise

Iris:
Darkside

Orchids:
Darth Vader
Skywalker Red Star

I'm sure there are many other scientific names related to the Star Wars saga that we've yet to find. It's amazing how far-reaching the references go.

I hope the trend continues.

LM

2 comments:

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

Grand Admiral Veers0

date Posted: Nov 12, 2005 3:22 AM
You... cannot... be serious. If this was true it would make science cool! We have been excluding cool from science for centuries and now this happens, say it ain't so!
But I digress, this is an interesting entry, one that continues to confound me (in a good way)

Nerf-Herders Anonymous said...

bonniegrrl
Droids Just Wanna Have Fun

date Posted: Dec 14, 2005 11:22 AM
thanks! you just gave me a great idea for a kids article on starwars.com!