11 Naughty-Sounding Scientific Names (and What They Really Mean)

It's a big world of flora and fauna out there, and scientists need to classify and label it. They've come up with a lot of terms that are humorous on purpose (stupidogobius, ytu brutus, inglorious mediocris, Roberthoffstetteria nationalgeographica, etc., etc.) but there are a few that are perfectly innocent Latin or Greekisms that just happen to sound like something else.

Are you ready to get immature? Here are 11 naughty-sounding scientific names, and what they really mean.


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Turdus is Latin for the bird we call a thrush. Maximus means biggest or greatest. This turdus maximus is a beauty, don't you think?


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Behold the American Robin, a migratory bird. A turdus who gets around.


The Colon genus of beetles originally got its name from kolon, the Greek word for limb or joint, and while asperatum brings to mind inhaling, it actually means roughened, from the Latin asper, for rough. Just a rough joint here. No reason to giggle.


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Otherwise known as the Wattled Crane, Bugeranus gets its name from the Greek bous (ox), and geranus (crane). It gets its disapproving facial expression from being called a bugeranus.


Catalog of Organisms 

This type of snail was named for its cylindrical shell that looks like a tiny sausage. It comes from Latin farcire, to stuff. A fartum is a stuffed thing, and a fartulum is a little stuffed thing, AKA a tiny sausage. It would make an excellent science fair project topic for a second grader.


New Guinea Birds

The Ochre-collared Monarch was named for Arses, the ancient King of Persia. It lives in the islands (insulae in Latin) of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Isn't it regal-looking? A real royal arses.


In Latin, an areola was a small open space, like a garden or courtyard. In botany, "areolatus" is used to describe patterns of small clearings or spots. The anus suffix in Latin makes an adjective out of a place. If you're from Rome, you're Romanus. If you're from Texas, like this spotted leafcutter, you are Texananus.


The Botryotinia part of this fungus name comes from botrus, the ancient Greek for a cluster of grapes. The other part honors famous German mycologist Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Leopold Fuckel.


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This is a very sturdy pine tree. There are many of this variety in New Jersey.


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We call this the Giant Stag Beetle because it looks like it has horns. Dorcus is Latin for antelope. This dorcus is not to be messed with.


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The Rufous-sided Warbling Finch may have some worries about its health (it is a threatened species), but hypochondria comes from the Greek for "under the ribs," where this beauty has a lovely red marking. The poospiza breaks down not as poos-piza, but as poo-spiza, spiza being ancient Greek for finch. The poo is from poa, meaning grass.

Afternoon Map
The Richest Person of All Time From Each State

Looking for inspiration in your quest to become a billionaire? This map from cost information website, spotted by Digg, highlights the richest person in history who hails from each of the 50 states.

More billionaires live in the U.S. than in any other country, but not every state has produced a member of the Three Comma Club (seven states can only lay claim to millionaires). The map spans U.S. history, with numbers adjusted for inflation. One key finding: The group is overwhelmingly male, with only three women represented.

The richest American by far was John D. Rockefeller, repping New York with $257.25 billion to his name. Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Microsoft's Bill Gates clock in at the third and fifth richest, respectively. While today they both make their homes in the exclusive waterfront city of Medina, Washington, this map is all about birthplace. Since Gates, who is worth $90.54 billion, was born in Seattle, he wins top billing in the Evergreen State, while Albuquerque-born Bezos's $116.57 billion fortune puts New Mexico on the map.

The richest woman is South Carolina's Anita Zucker ($3.83 billion), the CEO of InterTech Group, a private, family-owned chemicals manufacturer based in Charleston. Clocking in at number 50 is the late, great socialite Brooke Astor—who, though a legend of the New York City social scene, was a native of New Hampshire—with $150 million.

[h/t Digg]

Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.


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