Researchers Name New Beetle Species After Pokemon's Legendary Birds

The new species of beetles may be named after Johto's mythical guardians, but they're still vulnerable to fire-type Pokemon.


New species of Australian beetles have been recently discovered, and in a nod to the hobby of insect collecting that helped inspire Pokemon, the two entomologists responsible for the discovery have named them after three iconic pocket monsters.

Eastern New Mexico University entomology professor Dr. Darren Pollock and Australian National University Ph.D. student Yun Hsiao gave the beetles the names of Binburrum articuno, Binburrum moltres, and Binburrum zapdos, a reference to the three legendary birds of Pokemon Red and Blue.

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"I made the acquaintance of a Taiwanese entomology student by the name of Yun Hsiao about 5 or 6 years ago," Pollock said in an interview with the Eastern New Mexico University Press. "When he first made contact with me, it was very apparent that he knew his (beetle) stuff and was very enthusiastic about some of the same things I was."

Pollock discovered the new genus--a taxonomic category ranking used in a biological classification that is below family and above species--during his Ph.D. studies and named it Binburrum. Hsiao then discovered several more beetles from that genus that were distinct, and the researchers collaborated on these findings, eventually publishing a paper on their discoveries in The Canadian Entomologist.

"The choice of a name for a new species is not trivial; it must be different from any other described species," Pollock said. "One of the ways to ensure this is to make a name that nobody would ever have come up with before. Yun says that he was an aspiring Pokemon trainer when he was young, and so, because of the rarity of the specimens of the three new species, he suggested that we name them after the three Legendary bird Pokemon."

Pollock says that there are plans to publish a paper that describes more new species of this genus, with some possibly receiving more Pokemon names. Binburrum Mewtwo has a nice ring to it, but the duo will have several hundred names to choose from if they go in that direction.

Pokemon itself owes a lot to beetles and other insects as well, as Game Freak co-founder and Pokémon director Satoshi Tajiri was an avid collector of them in his youth.

That passion would eventually go on to inspire the creation of the original Pokemon games, and the franchise is stronger than ever 25 years later. Nintendo has big plans for Pokemon, which include the release of a new Pokemon Snap game in April, remakes of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and next year's Pokemon Legends: Arceus will explore the creation of the Sinnoh region's first Pokedex.

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