These New Wasps Have Been Given Seriously Weird Names For Appropriately Crazy Reasons


Robin Andrews

Science & Policy Writer

Meet Tobleronius orientalis, a rather adorably and ridiculously named species of parasitoid wasp. Jose Fernandez-Triana

If you’re about to name a new species, and you’re hoping to get some press attention, there are few better ways to do it than to make it a tribute to someone famous. A beach-living spider was recently named after Bob Marley for a rather clever reason, for example. It may have escaped your attention that there’s also a blind beetle out there named after Hitler, classified as such in 1933 by an admirer of the dictator.

Alternatively, as elucidated by a recent entry in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research, you could always use a zoological classification to declare your love for a certain type of chocolate bar.


Thanks to Dr Jose Fernandez-Triana and Caroline Boudreault of the Canadian National Collection of Insects in Ottawa, a whopping 17 new genera of parasitoid wasps, and 29 species within them in total, have been identified; these hail from the Afrotropical, Australasian, Neotropical, and Oriental regions of the world. One of these genera, Tobleronius, has indeed been named after the eponymous, airport-frequenting triangular treat.

Describing the sole species belonging to the genus at present, the authors of the listing explain that, well, they just really like that chocolate bar. It seems that the study of entomology is a snack-prone field of science.

“The name refers to the chocolate brand ‘Toblerone’, one of the favorites of the first author,” the description notes. They then say, without any shame nor compunction, that the “shape of T2 [a segment of the insect’s midsection] looks like one of the triangles that compose Toblerone bars (if one has enough imagination and love for chocolate!).”

Clearly hoping that life imitates etymological art, they also add: “Here is hoping that someday a wasp-shaped chocolate bar is produced.”

Qrocodiledundee outbackense. Jose-Fernandez-Triana

Putting the delicious-sounding Tobleronius orientalis aside for a moment, you’ve also got the genus Qrocodiledundee, a clear tip to the movie Crocodile Dundee. The species name, outbackense, refers to the remote, arid region of Australia where the insect is found, the area that the flick’s title character just so happens to be famously associated with.

According to an accompanying press release, Fernandez-Triana, of the aforementioned Canadian institution, used to track down crocodiles in the name of science. Much like Crocodile Dundee himself, he was also once bitten by one.

The other newly-named genera and species on the list are – besides those named after striking anatomical features of the wasps – more about honoring respected, wasp collection-featuring institutions than anything more quirky. You’ve got Carlmuesebecki Smithsonian, for example, named after the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

You’ve also got tributes to individual researchers or collectors. The genus Agupta refers to the Indian parasitoid wasp expert Ankita Gupta in recognition of her significant work on the subfamily of wasps these creatures belong to.


As marvelous as all this is, it’ll take a lot to beat the name given to one particular species of trilobite: Han solo.

Found in a fossil bed in China, the genus was originally in reference to the Han nationality, the largest ethnic group in the country. However, according to Mental Floss, the species name was added after Samuel Turvey, the palaeontologist who made the classification, was dared to do so by his friends.


  • tag
  • funny,

  • wasp,

  • chocolate,

  • strange,

  • Toblerone,

  • Crocodile Dundee,

  • 17 genera,

  • 29 species,

  • kind of adorable