It turns out those scientists in white coats still know how to have a little fun. The animals with ridiculously funny names certainly go to show the animal kingdom can be hilarious.
Have you ever wondered how scientists name new animals? Every animal has a Latin name, but they can be a little confusing to those of us who don’t read the ancient language. What do they do? Every creature has a common name, too. Believe it or not, but we might know a little more Latin than we give ourselves credit for. That’s right; boa constrictors are some of the few animals that are known by their Latin name.
Although it can seem as though scientists like to keep things to the point and, well, sometimes a little dull, it turns out that they also have some fun along the way, too. In fact, there are many animals with ridiculously funny names that help prove even those who have been studying at college for years and earning their degrees still know how to have fun. What would life be if you couldn’t have a little giggle along the way? Actually, some name might be more of a snort-tea-out-your-nose and slap-your-thigh kind of laugh instead.
Andean cock-of-the-rock – Rupicola peruvianus
Believe it or not, but this species of bird is thought to be so breathtaking that it has been named as the national bird of Peru. The Andean cock-of-the-rock is pretty easy to spot thanks to its incredibly bright feathers and fan-shaped crest.
The males are the most vivid and impressive looking of the species. This is because they use their looks to try and win over the females. The bird earned its name thanks to its love of hopping along the rocks and building mud nests along rock faces. Their loud croaking call means these birds often fill the forests with their recognizable sound.
Fluffy-backed tit-babbler – Macronous ptilosus
These birds belong to a family known as the old-world babblers and are found across Eurasia. It seems as though many people have classed birds as babblers when they have no idea where they belong, but how did the fluffy-backed tit-babbler earn its name?
It’s thought they were spotted by English explorers who felt they reminded them of another species of bird from back home, such as blue tits. However, there was something different. They have fluffy backs. Rather than think of a complicated way to name the new bird, it seemed as though the fluffy-backed tit-babbler was the simplest option.
Pair of masked boobies – Sula dactylatra
Amazingly, the masked booby is the largest of all the booby birds living on the Galapagos Islands as they usually grow to 35 inches. It’s their black mask that earned this bird its ridiculously funny name. However, it also has a host of impressive skills to its name.
Masked bobbies can dive from 90 feet in the air and reach incredible speeds before they plummet into the ocean to catch squid and fish. They remain silent while they are out at sea as these birds save their nose for nesting colonies. Sadly, if there are two eggs in the nest, then the stronger sibling usually finishes its weaker competition.
Prickly dreamer – Spiniphryne gladisfenae
Let’s face it; anglerfish are the stuff of many nightmares. They live far down in the ocean where most of us have never dared to go – and that won’t be changing anytime soon. Anglerfish have a unique addition that helps lure any prey right into their waiting jaws.
They have a bioluminescent orb at the end of their rod – a modified fin ray. The glow is thanks to bioluminescent bacteria that have learned to live alongside the prickly dreamer. Sadly, anything else looking to get close is soon trapped in their many sharp teeth and is quickly devoured. Living so deep under the ocean means that little else is known about this impressive fish.
Sarcastic fringehead – Neoclinus blanchardi
While it might seem as though the sarcastic fringehead has a funny name, it turns out there could be more to the story. “Sarcastic” in Latin actually translates to “flesh tearing.” Not so funny now, right? The name suits this fish as they are some of the most ferocious predators in the sea.
Thankfully, they only grow to around 10 inches long, so they aren’t a threat to humans, but they cause havoc for sea creatures. They are found along the Pacific coastline where they lie in wait for their prey or someone who crosses their path before they start a frenzied battle.
Piggbutt worm – Chaetopterus pugaporcinus
These creatures don’t just live in the sea, they live thousands of feet below the surface. 9,800 feet below, to be precise. They live in areas of water that have very little oxygen and are only around the size of a hazelnut. However, piggbutt worms have learned how to adapt to their environments with ease.
They were only discovered around 10 years ago, meaning there is little known about the species. The white mucus that surrounds each one helps attract plankton that gets stuck before they are devoured as the next meal later on. They spend their spare time floating around in the hopes of attracting more food.
Slightly musical conehead – Neoconocephalus exiliscnorus
Coneheads are a group of insects who have some of the longest heads in the bug world. Their name is certainly one way to get to the point. However, these insects aren’t quiet. No, they are slightly musical. Not all the way. That would be taking it too far.
They have the longest head of any of the coneheads, and they live around bodies of water found in cornfields or wetlands. Their music is pretty impressive for more than one reason. The males from one region will all sing along to the same tune. However, a slightly musical conehead from somewhere else has a different melody.
Pink meanie – Drymonema larsoni
This jellyfish has had a taste of the good stuff, and now it just can’t get enough. Its meal of choice? Other jellyfish. Oh. It lives in the waters of South Africa and is thought to be the rarest jellyfish of the region.
However, its great size and weight, as well as its love of devouring other jellyfish, means its jellyvorous ways gave it the name the pink meanie. It’s thought to be at the top of the jellyfish food chain, where it sits at up to 50 pounds in weight and 70 feet in length. One was once caught eating 34 other jellyfish at once.
Mint-sauce worm – Symsagittifera roscoffensis
No, we’re not talking about the delicious sauce that many of us enjoy on roast lamb. We’re talking about mint-sauce worms that just can’t seem to decide whether they want to be an animal or a plant. Why? That’s all thanks to the fact they harvest algae inside their bodies but don’t digest the stuff.
Instead, they live off the byproducts made from the algae’s photosynthesis. This means that mint-sauce worms are entirely solar-powered. Pretty neat, eh? It’s this process that helps to give them their impressive green glow and means they have a pretty effective way of surviving.
Sea sparkles – Noctiluca scintillans
Many of us have imagined a world filled with glittering unicorns or sparkling fairies, and it seems as though some of our dreams might just come true – almost. The sea can seem like a scary place, but it gets a little better when we see the sea sparkles come to life in all their glory.
Noctiluca scintillans, as they are officially known, are a form of sea algae that have a bioluminescent trait. They eat phytoplankton that helps them to glow as soon as the sun goes down. Although many are blue, some sea sparkles also emit green or red light along the coast.
Sparklemuffin spider – Maratus jactatus
There are thousands of species of spiders in the world, with more being discovered every year. The sparklemuffin spider is one of the latest additions to make the list. While many spiders look as though they want to show us a bad time, these little critters appear to see the fun side of life.
They live in Australia – of course – where their bright colors are one of the ways they attract mates. Males also have a ritual dance they perform in the hopes of landing themselves a date. Sparklemuffins are part of the peacock spider family, but their glittery appearance earned them a new name.
Green terror – Aequidens rivulatus
While this fish might be large and beautiful to look at, you may want to think twice before you welcome a green terror to your tank. They can grow up to 12 inches long and often have a rounded hump on their head.
They are found in the waters of South America where they have been wreaking havoc for years, that’s because they are highly aggressive and will usually do anything to protect their territory – even if it means ending the other fish. Many people have welcomed them to their home aquariums. However, they have to be kept away from other fish if you want them all to survive.
Rainbow happy – Sargochromis carlottae
Have you ever thought about a happy fish? While it might never have crossed your mind, it seems as though it could soon be at the center of your imagination. It turns out there is a happy fish out there, and it goes by the name of the rainbow happy.
It belongs to a genus of fish known as cichlids that are pretty common in lakes and rivers across Africa. Most of the happies all have their unique adaptations, with the rainbow happy having one of the most bizarre. They actually incubate their young in their mouth before they are large enough to survive out in the big, wide waters.
Baw Baw frog – Philoria frosti
Although the Baw Baw frog has a pretty funny name, it’s all thanks to the fact that the species is named after Mount Baw Baw in Australia. They thrive on muddy earth and leaf litter across the mountain as they are filled with invertebrates and worms to keep them fed.
Unfortunately, it looks as though we might not get to enjoy these reptiles for much longer. Over 98% of their habitat has been destroyed in the last 30 years. Thankfully, many zoos across the nation have started a breeding program to help return the Baw Baw frogs to their former glory.
Slippery dick – Halichoeres bivittatus
There are plenty of fish in the sea, and it turns out that some have more hilarious names than others. That’s right; the slippery dick is one species of fish that has got many people talking over the years. They are all born as females, but they can transform into males when the time is right.
The fish changes color throughout the different phases of its life. The best bit? Many of us have a lot in common with this fish. They are always the first to head to sleep and the last ones to rise in the day before they spent the daytime gently swimming above the coral in search of food.
Wonderpus octopus – Wunderpus photogenicus
So what is it that makes the wonderpus octopus so special? They are found in shallow waters off the coast of Malaysia where their vivid patterns have grabbed the attention of many. They were first classified in 2006 as scientists often confused them with the mimic octopus.
Unlike the mimic octopus, the wonderpus keeps its stripes all year round. Most invertebrates are usually unintelligent, but the same can’t be said for the wonderpus. Some people believe their colors are to help them look like the dangerous mimic octopus while others think it acts as a warning they are toxic to eat.
Leonardo Dicaprio beetle – Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi
Some celebrities have made their names so big and recognizable that they have gone down in history. Just take the likes of Marylin Monroe or Audrey Hepburn. However, we’re not sure that Leonardo Dicaprio thought he would be forever remembered as a beetle.
The insect was found clinging to a rock in a fast-flowing stream in Malaysia. The water meant that it was missing an antenna and leg, but that didn’t stop it from holding on. Hey, Jack. Did you get the memo? The beetle was named after Leonardo thanks to his environmental activism over the years after it was first discovered in 2018.
Impatient sea cucumber – Holothuria impatiens
It turns out that you’ll have to take a trip to the Caribean Sea if you want to take a closer look at the impatient sea cucumber for yourself. They live in pretty shallow waters that are usually around one-foot-deep. They typically spend most of the day hiding underneath rocks before they venture out the feed at night time.
They grow up to one-foot-long and spend the night searching the seabed for any organic matter that might have fallen their way. Sadly, they don’t have the patience to live alongside other sea cucumbers and spawn their own children every now and then.
Snaggletooth – Astronesthes richardsoni
Thankfully, it turns out that you’ll have to dive 1,000 feet under the sea before you come close to meeting one of these strange creatures. Yes, the snaggletooth is real, and it might be time that it heads to the dentist. The fish are smaller than an adult’s fingertip and have no scales.
However, they do have luminous spots all across their body that make them look like the night sky as soon as they are in the light. Snaggletooth fish also have translucent fangs that are perfect for grabbing hold of any prey that passes their way. Being so small and deep under the ocean means they are no threat to humans.
Bare-faced go-away-bird – Corythaixoides personatus
Have you ever had someone tell you that you have a resting face that makes people want to go away? It seems as though this bird might be your spirit animal. However, it’s not just this bird’s facial features that earned it its name, but it’s actually its unique call.
Many believe it sounds as though the bird is saying “go away.” To top it off, the African bird also has a bare face compared to many others in the world. It seemed as though there was no better name than the bare-faced go-away-bird. It certainly gets to the point.
Whitemargin unicornfish – Naso annulatus
You might have thought that narwhals are the unicorn of the sea, but it could be time for them to move over as the whitemargin unicornfish is here to stay. It’s their large protruding nose that has earned this fish the name of the mythical creature.
However, they also have another name: the surgeonfish. This is all thanks to the hook-like plates along their tale. They are used to help defend off any predators or rival fish, but they are so sharp that they are believed to be just like a surgeon’s scalpel. It might be best to see a real surgeon instead of booking in with this doctor for your next operation.
Pink fairy armadillo – Chlamyphorus truncatus
There are some animals in the world that have us doing a double-take. The pink fairy armadillo is usually one of them. They only live in central Argentina, meaning there is little known about the creatures. No one has any idea how to track them down, meaning that most of them are merely discovered by accident.
It’s thought they only grow up to 4.6 inches long, not including their tail, making it the smallest armadillo in the world. The best bit? Their longest claw is one-sixth of their body length. This helps them to fulfill their love of digging and searching for their next any meal along the way.
Chuck Will’s widow – Caprimulgus carolinensis
This bird prefers to come out at night. Their short bills and flat heads make them pretty unusual looking, but that’s not all. They also have a handful of nicknames, including whippoorwills, bugeaters, goatsuckers, and the Chuck WIll’s widow. Don’t worry; they didn’t remind any Chucks of their widow.
It’s believed they were given the unusual name thanks to the distinct call they make as many people think it sounds like their name. They are incredibly well camouflaged against the fallen leaves in Central and South American forests. Plus, their large wings means they silently glide across their surroundings, only making noise with their calls.
Ice cream cone worm – Pectinaria gouldii
It might be easy to think that worms have a pretty easy life. However, it’s not all play with no work for ice cream cone worms as they have a lot to do to make sure they are safe and fed. These worms are usually found in carefully crafted trumpets.
They delicately make them themselves as they use grains of sand, broken shells, and just about anything else they can find before they have somewhere to hide. They grow up to two inches long where they thrive in shallow waters. The ice cream cone worm stays protected by burrowing face down into the sand with only its tail on show.
Impressed tortoise – Manouria impressa
Many of us think of tortoises as mobile rocks that slowly make their way around, eating most things in their path. However, the impressed tortoise is a pretty unusual breed. They live as high as 6,600 feet above sea level on mountains in Thailand. There is little known about this shelled wonder as they are critically endangered, but it looks as though there could be more hope yet.
They have recently been found in India, and many conservationists are now working hard to bring them back from the brink. The tortoises are named thanks to their impressed shell rather than a look of being pleased.
Blind furry lobster – Palinurellus gundlachi
It could be easy to think that lobsters and fur should never go together, but you might change your mind after taking a look at the blind furry lobster. Their hair adds a touch of adorableness to this sea critter that we never knew they needed until now.
They are pretty small and live among the rocks as they need all the outside protection they can find. That is because these lobsters are completely blind. Yeti crabs have caught many people’s eyes since they were discovered a few years ago. However, we will have to look a little closer if we want to find their hairy crustacean cousins.
Robust assfish – Bassozetus robustus
The sea has a strange power as it creates some of the most terrifying and bizarre-looking creatures on the planet. The robust assfish is no exception. It is a type of eel that is found deep within the ocean. Many researchers believe that it looks like a tadpole, but as it lives so far down, it is hard to learn about the species.
There are only 13 known species of eel found in the Bassozetus family, but with some much of the underwater world still left to discover, it looks as though only time will tell if there are any more hiding out in the deep.
Hopbeard plunderfish – Pogonophryne neyelovi
Researchers are finding new species of fish every year, and the hopbeard plunderfish was discovered back in 2009. They live deep under the sea at around 4,560 feet down. However, they were found entirely by accident as mariners were actually looking for an Antarctic toothfish.
The longest plunderfish found so far measures at 14 inches long and have sharp dorsal fins that cover the top of their bodies as well as barbels coming from their chin. There is little known about this strange fish except for the fact they have incredibly large livers that make up 35% of their abdomen.
Bobolink – Dolichonyx oryzivorus
It might not be tough to spot this bird once you know what you are looking for. This is because many people feel as though the males are wearing tuxedos back to front. Male bobolinks also have a straw-colored head that makes them stand out from the rest of the crowd.
However, there is more to this bird than meets the eye. They are often considered to be one of the most impressive songbirds in the world thanks to the fact they travel around 12,500 miles every year. This means that throughout their life, bobolinks fly the equivalent of 4 to 5 times around the planet.
Chocolate chip sea star – Nidorellia armata
If looking at the chocolate chip sea star makes you crave cookies then you aren’t alone. It’s the sea creature’s horns that make it look like a delicious dessert. However, those horns are there to try and help them be the opposite of someone’s next meal. This sea star is the staple of many other creatures’ diets.
The horns help to make them less appealing. Amazingly, this sea star has no blood and can regrow any arms that are lost along the way. Plus, they spend their days scavenging along the ocean floor as they are completely blind and rely on their arms to find meals instead.
Beyoncé fly – Scaptia beyonceae
Many of us think of flies as pests. So what about naming it after one of the most recognized pop singers in the world? The Beyoncé fly is a rare species of horse fly that only lives in Queensland, Australia. However, it might not be so much of a pest as they first seem as Beyoncé flies pollinate many of the plants across the state.
They were first discovered in 1981, the same year the pop star was born. Plus, their golden hairs across their abdomen and behind gave researchers the perfect idea. They wanted to show the fun side to taxonomy and thought that making a diva of the fly world was their chance.
Devil’s coach-horse – Ocypus olens
This long, black beetle has been spotted since the Middle Ages. They are known to grow up to one inch long, but they certainly know how to make their presence known. The devil’s coach-horse has special glands in its abdomen that can release a foul-smelling odor into the air to scare off any predators.
Plus, they know how to stand their ground. They spend most of their time walking along the floor. That is until they feel threatened. Then, they raise their abdomen and stand like a scorpion. Oh yeah, and they can fly. Did we forget to mention that? Just beware of this beetle as it has a bite to match its smell.
Cynical quaker – Orthodes cynica
This moth might seem like any other that flies around the night sky, but this one comes with a difference. It turns out that there is a good reason that it is known as the cynical quaker. It’s all thanks to the caterpillar’s defense mechanism to make sure that it doesn’t get eaten by any prey.
Some of them have learned how to excrete alkaloids, while others prefer to produce acids. As if that wasn’t enough, many of the caterpillars also regurgitate certain plant compounds along with a toxin known as toluquinone to make a dangerous substance for anyone wanting to take their chances.
Bananaquit – Coereba flaveola
Tropical rainforests are home to some of the most colorful and impressive animals on the planet. The bananaquit is no exception. Their bright yellow belly makes them look just like the fruit they are named after. Their white eyebrows are just a delightful addition that we get to enjoy.
Many of the subspecies of this bird have different length beaks. The curved shape is an essential addition as bananaquits thrive on nectar from plants and the sweet sugars from fruit. Their sweet tooth means these birds often visit locals if they have some unattended sugar water or fruit outside their home.
Bushy-tailed hairy-footed gerbil – Gerbillurus vallinus
There is a name that gets to the point, and then there’s the bushy-tailed hairy-footed gerbil. They are small gerbils who only usually grow up to two inches long. However, their impressively bushy tail compared to other gerbils means that they typically stand out amongst the crowd.
It turns out those hairy feet aren’t just decoration either. These gerbils live in sandy environments, and the hair helps to keep their feet nice and clean. To top it off, the bushy-tailed hairy-footed gerbil loves to talk to others. They do this by drumming their feet on the ground. Yes, animals really are incredible.
Disco clam – Ctenoides ales
If you’re looking for a way to get your boogie on while underwater, then it might be time to find a disco clam. Their bright colors help add a splash of something special to the ocean floor, but that’s not all. The disco clam lives among coral where they reflect the sun’s rays and put on impressive light shows whenever they have the chance.
No one is really sure why they do this. Could it be to attract a mate? Perhaps it’s to lure in food? Maybe they are hoping to deter predators? We have a feeling that they actually have a disco fever that they just can’t contain.
Willie wagtail – Rhipidura leucophrys
They might be small, but willie wagtails know how to stand their ground. These birds are found across Australia where they aren’t afraid to chase anyone away. This includes any larger birds who try to claim their nest, as well as snakes, cats, dogs, and even any human who gets too close.
However, they do tolerate sheep and cattle as they often follow them around to collect bugs. They have an impressive set of black feathers that are decorated with white eyebrows and chest. They earned their wagtail name from the fact they often wag their tails. The rest? It seems as though that’s up to the imagination.
Atlantic spiny lumpsucker – Eumicrotremus spinosus
It’s not every day that we call a fish “cute,” but the Atlantic spiny lumpsucker is one of the few exceptions. They are pretty unusual as their fins are actually on the underside of their bodies. They don’t usually swim, but suck to the bottom of the ocean instead where they move along in search of food.
Their unique talents also mean they have become an important part of salmon farming. The fish travel among the salmon and eat any parasites that could cause problems for the farmers. To top it off, they are also a delicacy in some countries and can play a huge role in Japanese birthday parties as their roe replaces caviar.
Pleasing fungus beetle – Gibbifer californicus
Not all beetles are pleasing on the eye. That is until we get to the pleasing fungus beetle who has earned its name for two reasons. Their diet mainly consists of various fungi found throughout forests and woodland areas. The second part? That’s all thanks to the fact these beetles are pretty pleasing on the eye.
They come in all sorts of colors, from red to blue to orange. They are found all across North and South America where they have been spotted since 1842. As if that wasn’t enough, their pupae are often though to look like a bat roost.
Bone-eating snot-flower worm – Osedax mucofloris
While they might sound scary, the bone-eating snot-flower worm is one of the most impressive worms in the sea. This is thanks to the way they eat and digest their food. These worms look for any bone they can find – including ones that have been thrown overboard from passing ships – and get to work.
The females have roots that secrete acid to help dissolve the bones. However, they don’t have any mouths, so how do they eat? They do that by absorbing the dissolving bone through the same roots. Thousands of these worms often gather on each bone, making it look as though they are covered in a red rug.
Satanic leaf-tailed gecko – Uroplatus phantasticus
Madagascar’s top camouflage of the year award might have a new owner: the satanic leaf-tailed gecko. It’s all thanks to its, well, leaf-like tail that makes it look as though it’s a part of the rotting foliage in the trees. They keep still in the day before they take to hunting at night.
Here, it’s believed the geckos devour anything in their path. However, if they are spotted by a hungry snake, rat, or bird, these geckos simply open their mouths wide and proud. Why? They let out a huge cry and show off their red mouth and tongue to scare anyone away.
Forgotten frigid owlet – Nycteola metaspilella
Turning a light on at night often means one thing: a host of bugs. This could be the perfect chance to attract the forgotten frigid owlet moth into your life. It is only found in North America. However, no one is really sure how this moth ever earned its name.
Of course, like other moths, the forgotten frigid owlet comes out at night – and that’s about all we know. Maybe the scientist forgot they needed to name the new species? Perhaps the moth wasn’t in the mood to show any love? Whatever the case, this moth has certainly earned a name that will stick for a lifetime.