It is hard to find anyone that has not heard about Star Wars. Lots of us are still caught up in the craze that began when the first movie was released back in 1977. It seems that those movies have had an interesting impact on some of the scientists that name bugs as well. Did you realize that there is a whole branch of science concerned with classification? Every year, scientists recognize 15,000 new animal species and of course each one needs a new name. It’s no wonder scientists turn to current events, popular culture and celebrities for inspiration!

Let us take a look at some of the interesting discoveries that have names influenced by Star Wars; this also shows that these bug guys have a real sense of humor! Most insects have their scientific name that usually no one can pronounce, but the names that they are known by are at times quite amusing!

The Star Wars Insect Catalog!

* Darth Vader Beetle Agathidium vaderi – This beetle was named by 2 entomologists, Kelly B. Miller and Quentin D. Wheeler in 2005. This beetle can be found in South Carolina and can roll themselves up into an almost complete sphere as round as the Death Star!

* Vader Wasp Polemistis vaderi – (Beaver County, Utah, USA). It’s easy to see why this wasp was named after Darth Vader – they are jet black and appear to be wearing a Darth Vader helmet.

* Chewbacca Wasp Polemistus Chewbacca – (Cochise County, Arizona, USA) and Yoda Wasp Polemistus yoda (Nicaragua) Both these small wasps were named in 1983 by entomologists Arnold Menke and David Vincent.

Interestingly, it seems that there are quite a few entomologists with a sense of humor when it comes to naming new finds. Here are a few more that are pretty funny!

Beetles:

* Agra Sasquatch

* Agra yeti

* Agra vation

* Agra vate

Entomologists have also even been known to dabble in politics!

* Agathidium bushi

* Agathidium cheneyi

* Agathidium rumsfeldi

A scientist named Wheeler named these three slime-mold beetles in honor of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, which was intended as a compliment. Wheeler even claims that President Bush called to thank him personally for the gesture!


There is also the dementor wasp Ampulex dementor, named after the soul-sucking dementors from the Harry Potter books. Dementor wasps sting cockroaches in order to paralyze them so that their larvae can feed off them. This is not unlike the dementors in the Harry Potter series that deliver a ‘dementor’s kiss’ in order to consume someone’s soul. The victim is both cases are left in an irreversible vegetative state.


And if any of these fictional or real character insects visit your home or yard one day, you know who to call – APM!