“Never Mind The Molluscs”: Weird Creatures Named After Punk and New Wave Bands.
Above Photo: I know Madonna’s neither Punk nor New Wave but I couldn’t resist….
Not really relevant to my Punk and New Wave memoir, Bombed Out!, I was still amused to recently read about a sea snail that had been named after Joe Strummer. So I did a bit of research to see which other Punk and New Wave bands or members had been honoured in this way.
Strummer got off lightly. The team from Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute who named the Alviniconcha strummeri did so because of its hardcore nature – inhabiting the hottest, most acidic and sulphurous areas of the sea floor, its spiky shell also resembling punk fashions.
The Sex Pistols’ Paul Cook, Steve Jones, Glen Matlock, Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious all have trilobites (fossils of extinct marine animals) named after them. Called Arcticalmene cooki, jonesi, matlocki, rotteni and viciousi, these trilobites date back over 500 million years and were named after the band in 1997 by two scientists.
For nearly 300 million years the prehistoric seas swarmed with trilobites, which are distant relatives of modern-day scorpions and spiders.
The Ramones had trilobites named after them too (Mackenziurus joeyi johnnyi deedeeyi ceejayi)
Lou Reed did much better than a Trilobite when he gave his name to Loureedia annulipes, a type of velvet spider that lives underground (which is especially apt considering his former band’s name).
Velvet spiders are mostly desert predators, living a rock n’ roll lifestyle. They decorate the roof of their underground burrows with the remains of their prey, and babies eat their mother before departing the nest.
Not to be outdone, David Bowie has also given his name to a rare spider, the Heteropoda davidbowie.
The Heteropoda davidbowie is a large, yellow, hairy spider, distinguished by its large size and yellow hair, and only found in parts of Malaysia.
Bowie was apparently selected for the honour because of his musical contribution to arachnid world – his 1972 album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
The German spider expert who discovered the Heteropoda davidbowie, said that naming spiders after celebrities helped draw attention to the endangered status of many species as human activity destroys their habitats.
Sting, former frontman of The Police, has also given his name to an animal, the Dendropsophus stingi.
Dendropsophus stingi is a species of frog found in Colombia, where it inhabits humid marsh and swampland in the tropical rainforest. The species was named after him in recognition of his “commitment and efforts to save the rain forest.”
Bono’s Joshua Tree trapdoor spider (Aptostichus bonoi) kills its prey by ambushing it and injecting deadly venom. It was discovered in Joshua Tree National park, California, after U2’s album Joshua Tree which came out in 1987. Apparently it is critically endangered (the spider, not the album).
And finally, I also liked this one, although Madonna’s neither Punk nor New Wave:
In 2006 a new water bear species Echiniscus madonnae, was named after Madonna. These tiny animals are made up of five segments, with four pairs of legs and they live all over the world in humid environments. They’ve also been shot into space as part of an experiment.
I’m not sure the namers were fans of Madonna or not, as they said: ‘We take great pleasure in dedicating this species to one of the most significant artists of our times, Madonna Louise Veronica Ritchie’.
Buy a signed copy of Bombed Out! here: http://www.bombedoutpunk.com/buybook.php
And two relevant You Tube tracks to end on – Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust (a superb video of great Bowie footage) and one of my favourite tracks from U2’s Joshua Tree album.