The natural world boasts a ton of amazing creatures. Octopuses seem like they hail from another planet. Have you looked at a rhinoceros recently? They’re practically real life rock monsters! Still, try as it might, our world’s zoology will never quite measure up to that of the Pokémon universe. But in an effort to bring a little Poké flavor to Earth’s animal kingdom, a pair of scientists have taken to bestowing some legendary nomenclature on newly discovered species.
We turn our sights today to two gifted entomologists and Pokémon appreciators, Darren Pollock and Yun Hsiao. (A story we found via Gamepot.) Pollock is a professor of entomology at Eastern New Mexico University; Hsaio is a Ph.D. student at Australian National University. The duo have lain claim to the discovery of three new species of beetle, all beneath the genus Binburrum; said genus, which itself Pollock discovered previously, is indigenous to Australia.
Our paper has been published online in @CanEntomologist! We review Binburrum Pyrochroidae and described 3 new species, which are named after the 3 legendary birds of #Pokémon, referring to the rareness of these species that have only few specimens @EcoEvo_ANU @CSIRO @ColeopSoc pic.twitter.com/Im0lEVCYJ2— Yun Hsiao (蕭 昀 シャオ ユン) (@YHsiaoBeetle) January 2, 2021
To mark their discovery with especial flair, Pollock and Hsaio have named the beetles after three particularly dazzling Pokémon. The beetles now go by Binburrum articuno, Binburrum zapdos, and Binburrum moltres, after the original generation’s three legendary bird types. As Pollock told his alma mater in an interview, longtime Pokémon superfan Hsaio came up with the name theme. Per his Twitter account, Hsaio also recently discovered a separate beetle, which he named Demyrsus digimon.
Surprisingly enough, Pollock and Hsaio’s beetles follow in some interesting footsteps. Not too many extant animal species inherit the names of video game creatures, granted. But the phenomenon has precedent! Recent years have borne the discovery of insect species that earned names like the Chilicola Charizard and the Stentorceps Weedlei.
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Granted, the legendary aspect is a nice touch; Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres ranked among the rarest and roughest in the original set of Pokémon games. We’re not sure that these Australian beetles will live to foster the same reputation, but the names sure give them a leg (or six) up.