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Binomium ridiculus

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"And here we are, in the natural habitat of the Moobus gelatinous, spending today as he does every day, sheltering himself from responsibility. But what's this? It seems a nearby Kickbuttus hystericus is returning from a successful hunt."
Gumball (referring to his parents), The Amazing World of Gumball, "The Tape"

Now, if you look over here, you will see that we have an example Tropinius autodescriptans which was recently mounted for display. Note the fine Latinate canines. As you can see, this particular T. autodescriptans is of the schisomates subspecies, which is believed to have split off from the parent C. latinicus some time in the mid-18th century...

Or put another way, Canis Latinicus (or at least Gratuitous Latin) as specifically applied to ersatz species names, used either to make something sound scientific or to poke fun at such uses.

In biology, the formal naming system used for describing species is known as binomial nomenclature (that is to say, "naming using two names"). It was developed by the Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeusnote  in the early part of the 1700s as part of the larger system he created for classifying organisms. extended explanation 


Discovering and describing a new species is Serious Business, but part of that business is getting a chance to put your personal mark on scientific history by choosing the species name, so a certain amount of whimsy is allowed. As a result, Binomium Ridiculus is often Truth in Television, as the discoverers can use almost anything that suits their fancy: place names (usually where the specimen was found, but not always), names based on the discoverers' names, names of the expedition's patrons, names of famous individuals who have some tenuous resemblance or connection to the organism, anything.examples  For example, The Other Wiki has a Long List of species named after celebrities.


Given all of this, it is natural for writers to make fun of these sorts of names, or at least mimic them when trying to sound smart.

Sub-trope to both Canis Latinicus and Gratuitous Latin. Sister trope to Whateversaurus, which often uses a Binomium Ridiculus for the dinosaur's name. Often part of a Wildlife Commentary Spoof. Authors who are being fast and loose with scientific accuracy may apply this as Techno Babble to make their absurd claims seem like less of an Ass Pull.


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    Advertisus commercii 
  • In a commercial for Energizer batteries featuring Wile E. Coyote, Wile E. is introduced as "Pursuis Rabbitus Energizus", and the Energizer battery that powers the Energizer Bunny is introduced as "Powerus Never Stopus".
  • Levi's Jeans had an ad campaign in the late 80s/early 90s about the various types of people who wear their jeans, including Hoopis Alleyoopis and Hippis Hoppus Rappionis.
  • Devour made a commercial for their buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese featuring a safari hunt for the "Carnivorous devourus".

    Peliculus animatii (Films - Animation) 
  • It's easy to miss but in Tarzan, Professor Porter refers to rhinos and baboons as Rhinoceros bihornius and Theropithecus babunious respectively, neither of which is the actual scientific names of any real-life species of rhinoceros or baboon. Theropithecus is a legitimate genus but it refers to the gelada baboons living in the Ethiopian highlands, while the "true" baboons seen in the movie belong to the genus Papio. Similarly, Rhinoceros is a valid genus...for the one-horned Indian rhino.
  • The VW Beetle insects from Cars are named "Vroomaroundus Bugus".
  • In the movie Rio 2, Bia's pop-up book has an anaconda listed as "Anacondus Giganticus".
  • Treasure Planet has a species of Space Whale that Dr. Doppler identifies as "Orcus galacticus".
  • The title character in Megamind improvises the name of a spider to make it sound more threatening, "Arachnis deathicus."
  • The Curse of the Were-Rabbit reveals that the Loch Ness Monster has the scientific name Touristus Trappus (Despite the real name being "Nessiteras rhombopteryx", though the writer was most likely unaware of this).

    Peliculus vivactionis 
  • Paddington: The scientific name for Paddington's species is given as Ursa marmaladus on the museum exhibit Millicent Clyde created for Paddington.
  • In Hellboy, the "tooth fairies" are given the scientific name Carcharodon calcarea, which however is similar to the actual scientific name of the great white shark.

    Opus literatici 
  • In the book After Worlds Collide, one of the scientists who has landed on Bronson Beta starts attempting to do this to the animals that he is discovering there. Ultimately subverted, because someone points out that even if it weren't silly to name things in a dead language from a destroyed planet, a lot of the existing names were intrinsically silly anyway (the specific example given was the striped skunk, whose binomial name translates to "smelly smelly"). He's told to just use English to keep things simple.
  • H. L. Mencken, in several writings, examined the traits of the species known as Boobus americanus, widely distributed within the United States.
  • The title of Raditya Dika's third book, Radikus Makankakus (Bilingual Bonus side-note: "makan kakus" literally means "eating toilets").
  • Great A'Tuin, the colossal space-swimming turtle on which the Discworld rests, is given the species name Chelys Galactica.

    Televisi directactionae 
  • Good Eats often gives the actual scientific name of ingredients (e.g. Brassica oleracea for cabbage...and broccoli...and Brussels sprouts...and much else). However, from time to time, a fake name will be given to a manufactured ingredient (e.g., a cheese) or to a highly-processed one (e.g., Blackus incanus for sliced black olives in a can).note . The joke is carried on to Iron Chef America (of which Alton is the host).
  • Lost in Space (1965) subverts this when Dr. Smith announces in horror the arrival of "Canis lupus, the werewolf". "Canis lupus" just means ordinary wolf.
  • Doctor Who originally called its Reptilians the Silurians, after the Silurian epoch. Later writers, having learned that was the wrong epoch for the time frame they were trying to establish, called them "Homo reptilia" instead. This is also problematic, as being reptiles, they could not possibly be members of the mammalian Homo genus.

    Gamus tabletopii 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • 1st Edition Advanced D&D. Most dragons are in the family Draco and have Canis Latinicus genus, species, and subspecies names that reflect their natures or Breath Weapon.
      • The Monster Manual had the following: Black = Causticus Sputem, Blue = Electricus, Brass = lmpudentus Gallus, Bronze = Gerus Bronzo, Copper = Comes Stabuli, Gold = Orientalus Sino Dux, Green = Chlorinous Nauseous Respiratorus, Red = Conflagratio Horriblis, Silver = Nobilis Argentum, White = Rigidus Frigidus.
      • Monster Manual II. Cloud = Cumulus Welkin, Mist = Nebulus Obscura.
    • Basic D&D supplement GAZ10 The Orcs of Thar. The humanoid species are given Latin-sounding genus, species (and sometimes subspecies) names.
      • Bugbears: Ursus Bipedis Bugburianis, Ursus Bipedis Vulgaris, Ursus Bipedis Hyborianis
      • Gnolls: Canis Erectus Meridionum, Canis Erectus Septentrionum, Canis Erectus Hilarus
      • Goblins: Goblinus Occidensis, Goblinus Oriensis, Goblinus Goblinus, Goblinus Hyborianus
      • Hobgoblins: Goblinus Fortis, Goblinus Grandis
      • Kobolds: Canis Minor Militaris, Canis Minor Rapidus, Canis Minor Numerus
      • Ogre: Homo Monstrum Bellicosus, Homo Monstrum Brutalis, Homo Monstrum Grossus
      • Common Orc: Orcus Porcus, Orcus Hyborianis, Orcus Imperator Rex

    Gamus videi 
  • Bonk's original Japanese title is "PC Genjin", meaning "PC Barbarian" and a pun on the name of the system it was released for, PC Engine. Ostensibly, the "PC" in his name stands for Pitecanthropus Computerurus.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, Professor von Kriplespac describes Conker's species as Furrius squidgetterius.
  • Gurglewocky from Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has the scientific name "Oneirophagus Rex".
  • Played for Laughs in Granblue Fantasy. The in-game description of the Gorilla summon mentions its scientific classification as "Gorilla gorilla phantagrandus".
  • In the Halo universe, all the Covenant species, in addition to having a nickname (e.g., "Elites") and a formal name ("Sangheili"), also have a faux-Latin scientific name ("Macto cognatus"). You can read all the names and the meanings behind them in this forum post.
  • The Head Over Heels manual gives the title characters silly Latin-inspired names: Headus Mouthion and Footus Underium.
  • The Troggles in the Munchers games have the genus name "Trogglus" and species names such as "smarticus", "normalus", and "timidus". Only the last of these is a real Latin word (and it means exactly what it looks like). The Number Muncher is also identified as "Munchicus digitus".
  • In Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon Y, the Pokédex entry for Oddish gives it the scientific name Oddium Wanderus. No other Pokémon is given such a name in any entry in the series.
  • In Rayman: Revolution several of the bosses have fake Latin names. Boss Biditank is "Poubelus Agrovis", Boss Chenille (a large caterpillar) is "Kapounus Grobilus", and Grolem 13 (Guardian of the 4th mask) is "Bigum Aerum Tornadus Recyclus".
  • The Piranhacus Giganticus (a giant Piranha Plant) from the Super Mario Bros. series games.
  • The Nintendo Power guide for Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 divides enemies into classes with punny pseudo-Latin names. Edibilis Boringus are common, weak enemies that exist mainly for Yoshi to eat and turn into eggs; Harrassimentia Phlyoverus are Airborne Mooks; Projectilia Ritebakatchia shoot projectiles; Ucantia Defeatus are tough enemies, Invincible Minor Minions, and bosses; Mostosti Vomitonus let Yoshi breathe fire after eating them; and Dudim Phreykunoutonthis only contains Fuzzies.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, you can scan any creature and be given a scientific name for it. This is useful when seeking rare creatures is your goal, but can also be done to people to learn their origins, since the planet is populated by dozens of different alien species. Notably, there are Funny Animals whose identifiers are based on those of their real-world animal counterparts. This seems to indicate that they came about as the result of Uplifting.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Inverted in the Old World Blues DLC, where the formal name for the Venus Flytrap, Dionaea muscipula, is the given name for a unique Spore Plant (a type of genetically-engineered giant Venus Flytrap which spits toxic spores at the player) found near the 'X-22 botanical garden'.
  • Discworld: Rincewind has a run-in with the "Crockus Gittus, or common-or-garden boring old codger."
  • The Discworld Noir manual mentions the Disc's version of Linneus, Linoleum, who came up with such classifications as Bonuus Canii (good doggies — werewolves), Hortus Decorus (lawn ornament — dwarfs), Stuitus Saxum (stupid rocks — trolls), and Nosferatu Sanguineus (bloody vampires). His death was ruled a suicide, although exactly which species he commited it through remains unknown.
  • The X-Encyclopedia gives fairly reasonable Latin names to all the major nonhuman species of the X-Universe, though the text admits that applying Terran nomenclature to extraterrestrials is inexact at best. In order: Sepioteuthis nishalaensis (Boronnote ), Vultur inflatius (Paranidnote ), Homo hodiensis (Splitnote ), and Varanus carpolucror (Teladinote ). It also puts the mysterious semi-insectoid Khaak in order Bilateria and the Sapient Cetacean Wenendra in order Cetacea.

    Fabulae urbis 
  • A number of creatures from tall tales and urban legends have been given mock-scientific species names. These sometimes appear in parodies of scientific papers written as April Fools' Day jokes, or satirical magazines such as Annals Of Improbable Research. Others are given in guided tours or the like to give their exhibits added color. For example, one proposed name for the 'Australian Drop Bear'note  is Thylarctos plummetus.

    Comicum webae 
  • Latchkey Kingdom has multiple made-up species:
    • Rattas Dungeness, the dungeon rat. Diet consists largely of monsters and adventurers that have killed each other.
    • Pellicius Feria — "leather everyday" — a giant bat.
    • Here are Fulgur Muris — "lightning mouse" (Pikachu) and Adventurix Juvenalia — the protagonist.

    Video webae 

    Animataea occidentalis 
  • Looney Tunes: the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoons are a Trope Codifier for the parody use; in the opening scenes of most of them, the action suddenly pauses as a freeze frame showing either the Roadrunner or Wile E. Coyote in a pose reminiscent of a museum diorama, with the Roadrunner given names such as Speedius birdius or Speedometrus Rapidus, and the Coyote ones like Ravenus catchineatum or Famishus Famishus. One cartoon even gave the Roadrunner's "beep, beep" a scientific name ("beepus-beepus").
    • Subverted in 2003's "Whizzard of Ow" in which the actual binomial names were used: Canis latrans for the Coyote (barking dog — ironic when you realize Wile E. almost never speaks) and Geococcyx californianus for the Road-runner (Californian cuckoo that runs on land).
    • The Bugs/Wile E. outing "Rabbit's Feat" has Wile E. in pursuit of the common western rabbit. "Rabbitus Idioticus Delicious...I believe that's the scientific term for it."
    • And in "Stop! Look! And Hasten!" Wile E.'s Burmese Tiger Trap catches a Burmese Tiger, Surprisibus! Surprisibus!
  • Tiny Toon Adventures had one short called "Love Stinks", which introduced Calamity Coyote as "Devius Coyotius", Little Beeper as "Expedious Birdius", and Fifi le Fume as "Sexius Skunkius". Amazing that the censors let that one pass...
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode gave a direct nod to the Road Runner series by having a freeze-framed Bart and Homer identified as "Bratus Don'thaveacow'us", and "Homo Neanderthalus" respectively.
    • Another Road Runner parody appears at the beginning of "The Scorpion's Tale", where a photorealistic roadrunner and coyote and labeled Propertus Warnerbros and Copyrightus MCMXLIX, respectively. Otto then runs over the roadrunner and is labeled Licensis suspendibus.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Feeling Pinkie Keen", while Twilight is observing Pinkie Pie, she describes herself as observing the Pinkius pieicus in its natural habitat, and she totally didn't just make that up.
  • In a Shout-Out to Wile E. Coyote above, during an episode based on TV shows in Teen Titans, Beast Boy took Wile E. Coyote's place, taking on a form of Coyote, while Control Freak took Road Runner's place and he has the subtitle of Couchus Potaticus while Beast Boy gets Animalus Switcheroonium.
  • The Brothers Grunt: The earliest ancestor of the grunts is known as "Gruntus Not-Quite-Us".

    Livum realisae 
  • Scientists, when naming new species, will often name them after famous scientists or political figures, though instead of "us," they often add "-i" (for the genitive case) instead. This gets really silly when the person being honored is named "Ishii".
    • An example that makes Aussies' skin crawl — a species of land snail now known by the scientific name Crikey steveirwini. Irwin also has a turtle named after him, Elseya irwini.
    • Strigiphilus garylarsoni, a biting louse named for the cartoonist of The Far Side, is only one example.
    • Larson also got another honor, but not in a species' name. See the Thagomizer on That Other Wiki.
    • Terry Pratchett has an extinct species of turtle (what else?) (Psephophorus terrypratchetti) named after him, and kept a fossil of it on his desk.
    • Gingoites nannyoggiae, (at least, as reported by the Art of Discworld), the scientific name of a particular Mesozoic plant.
    • Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits has the Masiakasaurus knopfleri named after him (prompting many jokes about being an aging rock dinosaur).
    • At first, Jurassic Park's movie looked a bit odd to paleontologists, as the "velociraptors" were far too large (actual members of the genus Velociraptor were about the same size as chickens and turkeys). Then along came a discovery of a raptor-family dinosaur in Utah, every bit as big as the raptors in the movie and even bigger. It was dubbed Utahraptor spielbergi. Technically, the animal is now called Utahraptor ostrommaysorum. Another scientist, however, named a species of pterosaur (flying reptiles related to the dinosaurs) of the genus Coloborhynchus, "Coloborhynchus spielbergi", although its validity as a separate species of Coloborhynchus is currently under debate.
    • John Cleese has a lemur named after him. As far as cuteness goes, he wins.
    • Archeologists excavating a Mayan artifact site found a pictographic collection containing a carving of a very large, stylized snake; which they unofficially named "montypythonidies".
    • On hearing about the newly discovered spider Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, Stephen Colbert demanded that he get an animal, too. The biologist in question duly named Aptostichus stephencolberti.
    • Musician Sting has an Amazonian tree frog named after him—Dendropsophus stingi.
    • And then there's Calponia harrisonfordi, which is a primitive spider.
    • A species of mushroom has been named Spongiforma squarepantsii in homage to Spongebob Squarepants.
    • There is a genus of dinosaur known as Gojirasaurus. Yes, named after that Gojira.
    • Same goes for Dracorex hogwartsia (which has been suggested in recent years to be just a juvenile Pachycephalosaurus), whose name roughly means "Dragon King of Hogwarts."
    • Vampyroteuthis infernalis(Infernal Vampire Squid).
    • Aerodactylus scolopacipeps, formerly considered a species of Pterodactylus, is now a Pokémon.
  • During the massive re-evaluation of the Burgess Shale fossils by paleontologists at the University of Cambridge in the 1970s and 1980s, a number of previously unnamed specimens were examined, and a few others were renamed. They soon figured out that several of these were unlike anything in the modern world, or even in other fossil beds then known, which seems to have led to some inspired naming. Of these, a few stand out:
    • Hallucigenia sparsa was a mysterious worm-like creature that seemed so weird that Simon Conway Morris described it as being like something out of a drug trip.
    • An arthropod species with large chelicerae, which they happened to start studying in December, got nicknamed 'Santa Claws'. This led to the new genus getting the formal name Sanctacaris, with the type species being S. uncata.
  • There is an entire website devoted to proving that scientists have a sense of humor. Among others:
    • The fossil fly Carmenelectra shechisme (pronounced "she-kiss-me")
    • The three species of spider once thought to be members of the genus Nops, reclassified as Notnops, Taintnops, and Tisentnops
    • Another fly called Phthiria relativitae (the "ph" is silent)
    • And several species of fungus beetle called Gelae baen, Gelae belae, Gelae donut, Gelae fish, and Gelae rol
    • A genus of very small frogs is called Mini, comprising the species Mini mum (the smallest frog currently known), Mini ature, and Mini scule.
  • There is a species of trilobite whose full scientific name is Han solo. Seriously. The scientist who named it justified himself by saying it was in reference to the Han Chinese people (as the fossil was found in China) and the fact that it is the youngest of its family found to date, meaning it was likely the Last of Its Kind. He later claimed that he had been dared to name a species after a Star Wars character.


Video Example(s):


Going! Going! Gosh!

A good example of this trope from the aforementioned cartoon.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / BinomiumRidiculus

Media sources:

Main / BinomiumRidiculus