Newly Discovered Treefrog Is Named After Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick in 1949, while he was working as a photographer for LOOK magazine. Cowles Communications/Wikimedia Commons

This month, Stanley Kubrick joins the long list of celebrities who have had a new species of plant or animal named in their honor. Beyonce has the Scaptia beyonceae, a golden-tipped horse fly. Hugh Hefner, the Sylvilagus palustris hefneri – a bunny because of course. And Obama, who has had not one, but nine different species named after him, including a small, chunky beaked bird that lives in the Amazonian rainforest (Nystalus obamai) and a now-extinct foot-long lizard that roamed ancient North America (Obamadon gracilis)

So what lucky animal shares a name with the esteemed filmmaker? One of two newly discovered tree frogs discovered in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia, Peru, and Brazil – a region that contains the highest diversity of amphibian species in the world.


Both frogs had previously been wrongly identified as an entirely different but superficially identical species (the Sarayacu treefrog or Dendropsophus parviceps) in what must be the most scandalous case of stolen identity since "Single White Female".

The frogs were finally recognized as a new species after a team of scientists analyzed genetic, morphologic, and bioacoustic data on Amazonian treefrogs. Their research is published in the Open Access journal ZooKeys.

The first was named kamagarini, which translates into English as “demon” or “devil”, due to the horn-like protuberances on its upper eyelids. Kamagarini comes from the Matsigenka language, spoken by an indigenous population living in an area of south-eastern Peru close to the Brazilian and Bolivian borders.

Kubrick’s tree frog (or Dendropsophus kubricki, if you want to go by its scientific name) is so named because of the characteristic bright orange blotches on each one of its legs and the Stanley Kubrick classic "A Clockwork Orange" (1971).


The film was based on Anthony Burgess' dystopian novel of the same name published in 1962. Explaining why he had chosen the title "A Clockwork Orange", Burgess said: “I’ve implied the junction of the organic, the lively, the sweet – in other words, life, the orange – and the mechanical, the cold, the disciplined…"


"Without knowing, he was also giving a good metaphor to describe ecosystems," the researchers explained in a statement. "Nature works as the interplay between life and its cold, mechanical, and disciplined physical matrix."

And, of course, the frog’s almost circular orange markings vaguely resemble the “orange pieces of nature”. Ok, so the metaphor might be a slight stretch, but it’s a still a great tribute to one of the most legendary filmmakers of the 20th century.


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