10 animals with the improper names

Animals are likely to haven’t one, however a minimum of two names: a typical identify and a scientific identify.

Formal scientific names, albeit generally humorous or simply plain foolish (see animals named after celebrities and Star Wars characters), offer you perception into the species in query. The primary half tells you the genus (a taxonomic group) the species belongs to, and the second half tells you the precise identify that distinguishes the animal inside the genus. Thus, scientific names suggest organic genetic relationships between animals with comparable names. They have an inclination to offer helpful and correct info.

Conversely, widespread names – on account of confusion, ignorance, or bodily similarity between distantly associated species – may be something however helpful and correct. They’ll find yourself being fairly deceptive. Listed here are ten of our favourite misnomer pet names.

Animals with deceptive names

Honey bear (Potos flavus)

The honey bear or “kinkajou” is doubly deceptive. Not solely is it truly a member of the raccoon household, nevertheless it does not even eat honey! It’s considered given the identify as a result of they sometimes raid bee nests and might use their lengthy stretchable tongues to lick honey, honey bears are literally largely frugivores (fruit eaters), with as much as 90% of their eating regimen consisting of ripe fruit. Why they had been known as bears is more durable to know, as a result of there is not a lot similarity!

Kinkajou (Potos flavus), Central or South America. © Getty

Purple panda (Ailurus fulgens)

One other improper “bear” is the purple panda (of Grasp Shifu’s fame in Kung Fu Panda film). Purple pandas aren’t pandas in any respect, or a minimum of they don’t seem to be intently associated to the large panda (which is a member of the bear household). As an alternative, they’re the one residing members of their taxonomic household, Aylurids, and are most intently associated to raccoons, skunks and badgers. Nonetheless, the identify “panda” is believed to come back from the Nepali phrase “ponya”, which implies bamboo or plant-eating animal, which is completely correct.

A purple panda within the treetops. © Getty

Whale shark (Rhincodon sort)

Names can usually be complicated when given in relation to a bodily attribute, similar to measurement, slightly than in reference to a household relationship. That is true of the whale shark, which isn’t a whale, as massive as some. This species of shark (and subsequently a fish) is understood to develop as much as 18.8m in size, corresponding to a sperm whale, and is the biggest non-cetacean animal on the planet (the group of whales and dolphins). Along with measurement, it’s just like whales in one other respect, being a filter feeder in an analogous method to baleen.

Study extra about this fascinating fish in our whale shark information.

Whale sharks, the biggest fish on the planet, are native to tropical seas around the globe. © Getty

Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus)

Being neither Guinean nor a pig, it’s obscure how these small rodents acquired their deceptive identify. One principle is that they had been dropped at England by way of Guinea, main folks to consider they got here from there. One other is that they had been offered for the value of 1 guinea, though this isn’t verified, because the identify predates the usage of the coin. As for the pig, is there actually not even a bodily resemblance to attribute it to, even when the noises they make are maybe a bit comparable?

Nonetheless, it isn’t simply the British who discover some resemblance to pigs, because the references are made in a number of languages. In German they’re generally known as Meerschweinchen (“little sea pig”) and in Polish świnka morska (“suckling pig”).

A guinea pig. © Getty

The Spix macaw is now considered extinct in the wild.  © Al Wabra Wildlife Conservation

Bearcat (Arctictis binturong)

As you’ll be able to in all probability guess, this animal is neither a bear, nor a cat, nor intently associated to both of them. Just like the purple panda, it’s on the market by itself, being the one residing species of its form Arctic. The cat face and bear physique maybe belie the identify, nonetheless. Additionally generally generally known as Binturong, these South and Southeast Asian mammals are simply certainly one of two carnivores to have a prehensile tail, a tail that has advanced to have the ability to grasp or maintain objects (the opposite being the honey bear).

Bearcat (Arctictis binturong) © Getty

Flying fox (Pteropus gender)

It’s fairly simple to see how this red-haired bat acquired its deceptive identify. Her face and her coloring are very paying homage to a fox. Large wings, nonetheless, are much less so.

There are literally about 60 species on this ‘megabat’ genus, of various sizes. The most important is the “nice flying fox”, which might have a wingspan of as much as 1.5 meters, the longest of any bat species! Flying foxes eat fruit and eat loads of it, consuming as much as 35% of their physique weight on daily basis.

Extra so

Lyle’s flying fox Pteropus lylei Male bat sleeps on the tree. © Getty

Would you prefer to know extra? Try the BatFest: what it’s, when it is lively and the best way to take part.

Killer whales (Orcino orca)

Okay, this isn’t as deceptive as some, as killer whales (or killer whales) are literally very intently associated to whales and belong to the identical order, cetaceans. However technically, they’re dolphins, not whales, being the biggest members of the Dolphins household. The form and measurement considerably betray this relationship, as killer whales bear extra bodily resemblance to different dolphins than whales, with their beak-like mouths and compact, curved our bodies. Though they’re massive for dolphins, they’re additionally on the smaller finish of the dimensions than whales. The most important whale, the blue whale, can develop to almost 30 meters in size, for instance, making even the 7-meter bigger orca look tiny as compared!

Photograph taken in Tofino, Canada

Flying lemur

An enormous clue that this identify is not completely dependable is that flying lemurs are Not discovered within the island of Madagascar. As you could or could not know, true lemurs are alone present in Madagascar. They don’t seem to be even primates, as are lemurs (and apes and monkeys, together with us), though they’re the closest evolutionary cousins ​​of primates.

And guess what? They do not even fly. They glide impressively by way of timber utilizing massive membranes of pores and skin between their forelimbs and hind limbs, not the wings.

Discover out extra about actual lemurs right here.

Malayan Colugo, Sunda’s flying lemur (Photograph by Getty Pictures)

mountain rooster (Leptodactyl fallax)

Now I guess you could not guess what sort of animal this might be from the identify alone. You would possibly properly suppose, this frog appears to be like nothing like a rooster! And you would be proper, that is not the case. Nonetheless, apparently, it tastes considerably comparable, being notably massive and meaty.

Mountain Rooster Frog (Leptodactylus fallax) © Getty

The heavy mountain rooster is an amphibian discovered solely within the Caribbean islands of Dominica and Montserrat and, on account of its unlucky distinction of being till not too long ago the islands’ nationwide dish, in addition to habitat loss and illness, is at risk of extinction. Mountain rooster looking is now banned in an try to avoid wasting the species from extinction.

Learn how conservationists are attempting to avoid wasting the mountain rooster right here.


Starfish are simply certainly one of many varieties of animals which were mislabeled as fish, from jellyfish (that are cnidarians) to cuttlefish (that are mollusks). That is partly on account of the truth that the phrase “fish” had a wider definition than it does right now, getting used to explain nearly any aquatic animal. There have been some makes an attempt to handle and proper this confusion, for instance by altering starfish into starfish. Nonetheless, the outdated identify has remained persistent in widespread utilization. The starfish themselves belong to the Echinodermata phylum, together with sea urchins and sea cucumbers.

Study extra about this species with our skilled starfish information and if there actually is not a fish

Browsing the starfish, Kiehi Seaside, Maui Hawaii. © Getty

Leave a Comment

A note to our visitors

This website has updated its privacy policy in compliance with changes to European Union data protection law, for all members globally. We’ve also updated our Privacy Policy to give you more information about your rights and responsibilities with respect to your privacy and personal information. Please read this to review the updates about which cookies we use and what information we collect on our site. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our updated privacy policy.