Because what better way to get people interested in what you're doing than including a pop culture reference, University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor and entomologist Brett Ratcliffe has just named three of the eight beetles he recently discovered and described (Gymnetis drogoni, Gymnetis rhaegali and Gymnetis viserioni) after Daenerys Targaryen's dragons in Game Of Thrones. *mixing cocktail at desk because it's Friday and I only have an hour left to be here* That's cool man, do your thing.
"When you create names like these, you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and bring public attention to it," Ratcliffe said. "We're still discovering life on Earth. One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle. We haven't discovered them all. We're not even close."
Ratcliffe said he's named hundreds of species over his 50-year career and creating new names becomes difficult. Naming rules recommend against using humor or insults, and are particularly useful to avoid having duplicate names, he said.
"I've often thought that scientists take themselves too seriously," Ratcliffe said, "and this is a way to circumvent that."
Drogoni and viserioni can be found in Colombia and Ecuador, while rhaegali is in the French Guiana. All three have orange features.
One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle -- is that true? *consults Wikipedia* "The Coleoptera, with about 400,000 species, is the largest of all orders, constituting almost 40% of described insects and 25% of all known animal life-forms." Aaaaah, so a quarter of known animal species are beetles -- that's different than what I thought he was saying. I thought he was saying if you put every single currently living animal on earth (how ever many there are of each species) in a big bag and shook it up and pulled one out, you had a 25% chance of drawing a beetle. Of course I figured the chances of that happening were already slim anyways because beetles are so tiny. You'd probably draw something gigantic like a blue whale, my penis, or an elephant, despite all three being near extinction.
Thanks to Ram, who agrees somebody should name some newly discovered beetles after The Beatles, if they haven't already. Gymnetis ringostarri.