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10 Animals Named After Star Wars Characters

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The ability to name a new species is a rare honor and one that is undoubtedly taken more seriously by some than others…While many newly discovered species are given mundane descriptive names, related to certain physical aspects of the organism, others may be named after a favorite celebrity or even a foodstuff.

Some scientists also seem to take the name as a nerd opportunity on their favorite sci-fi franchise. There are quite an extraordinary number of animal and plant species that bear his name. star wars characters and elements. So much so that there is a dedicated Wikipedia page! Here are 10 of our favorites star wars named animals.

10 animals named after star wars characters

Wockia chewbacca

Chewbacca © ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

Wockia chewbacca adult, holotype. Public domain

This may be one of those occasions when an animal’s name is more exciting than the animal itself. These butterflies, found in Mexico, are small and a dull gray-brown color. They do, however, bear a small resemblance to their namesake – the “hair” on its wings. According to the article describing the species, “the epithet of the species, Chewbacca, is named after the very tall, furry character Wookiee from the Star Wars film series.” Does this moth remind you of Chewie?

Learn about another hairy butterfly with an unusual name – Donald Trump’s butterfly

Urubaxian chewing gum

Chewie is beloved enough to have not one, but four insect species named after him! Another of them is this species of true insect from Brazil. According to the authors, they named it because of its large size and hardiness compared to other Urubaxia species.

Pokemon Dragalge

Gibbon Skywalker (Hoolock tianxing)

Luke Skywalker was played by Mark Hamill. © Rich Fury/Getty Images

A Skywalker gibbon crosses a rope ladder. © Ger Bosma/Getty

One of the few non-insects on this list, the Skywalker gibbon is rare as a newly described primate. It is also rare in that it is unfortunately critically endangered. First described as a separate species in 2017, only 150 individuals remain in the wild. Its species name is tianxing, which translates to “heavenly motion” in Chinese and reflects its graceful swing through the trees. For its common English name, the scientists who named it were star wars fans and felt ‘sky walker’ accurately described the move.

Xenokeryx amidalae

Padmé Amidala lookalike. © MIKE SIMMONDS/AFP via Getty Images

Xenokeryx amidalae takes its name from its unusual horn. © Creative Commons

Often, even when Latin names are given after celebrities or fictional characters, there is always a descriptive reason. Such is the case with this extinct horned ruminant species, which was named after Queen and Senator Padmé Amidala “Due to the striking resemblance that Xenokeryx’s occipital appendage bears to one of the hairstyles that the character aforementioned shows in The Phantom Menace feature film.”

Coptoborus leia

Princess Leia was played by Carrie Fisher. © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty

Like with xenokeryx amidalae, This species also refers to the hairstyle of a favorite character. According to the authors who named it, the round body and hair of this bark beetle species reminded them of Princess Leia Organa’s hair in a bun. That seems a bit overkill!

Han Solo

Harrison Ford as Hans Solo on the set of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty

Han Solo Trilobite. © Creative Commons

If they are very lucky, scientists can sometimes have not only the species name, but also the genus reflecting their favorite character or celebrity. This is the case with this trilobite, named after the heroic Millennium Falcon pilot. Although the Han The genus name is officially said to refer to the Han Chinese, the largest ethnic group in China (where the fossil was found) and to the solo because it is the only known member of this genus, the author later admitted that his friends had challenged him to name a species after a star wars character.

Obiwan tetramorium

British actor Alec Guinness played the original Obi-Wan Kenobi. © Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty

Although sometimes species names inspired by fandoms have a connection to the animal itself, some resemblance in movement or appearance, sometimes they are apparently given just because. This seems to be the case for this otherwise fairly commonplace species of pavement ants named after Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi. There is, however, another species of the same genus with a star wars link: Jedi tetramorium. Decidedly these myrmecologists (you are scientists) are particularly fans!


Stormtroopers in their signature armor. © Michael Buckner/Variety/Getty

A male Stormtropis muisca. © Creative Commons

This next group of animals may have a better descriptive reason for their star wars Last name. This genus of bald-legged spiders is made up of four distinct species, all of which are found in Colombia. According to the authors, they chose the name because of the spiders’ behavior and ability to blend into their surroundings: “Stormtroopers are the soldiers of the Galactic Empire’s main ground force. These soldiers are very similar to each other, with some camouflage ability but clumsy movements – like this group of spiders. They seem to have refrained from making the species names star wars theme.

Read more fascinating spider facts

Peckoltia greedoi

Greedo first appeared in Episode IV: A New Hope. © Eduardo Parra/Getty Images

Peckoltia greedoi holotype. © Creative Commons

If you know your star wars, the name of this catfish will require little explanation. The resemblance between the fish and the bug-eyed bounty hunter is really quite uncanny. These armored catfish are found in Brazil’s Gurupi River, however, rather than in a spaceport canteen (a “wretched hive of scum and wickedness”).

Yoda’s purpura

Yoda has a number of species named after him. © ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP/Getty

Yoda’s purpura, or purple Yoda. © David Shale

Along with animals named after stormtroopers and minor bounty hunters, there must of course be species named after the greatest Jedi of them all, Yoda. There are, in fact, at least four, this acorn worm being only one. This alien-looking marine invertebrate is the only species yoda gender. He received this name because of his large “side lips” on the side of his head, which reminded scientists of the distinctive pointed ears of the Jedi Master.