List of references to Pokémon in science

Proteins

Pikachurin is a protein discovered by Japanese researches in Osaka Bioscience Institute in 2008, which is essential in interactions between cells that carry electrical impulses from the eyes to the brain.[1] The name refers to the Pokémon Pikachu and its "lightning-fast moves".[2]

Genes

Pokemon[sic] was the temporary name of gene Zbtb7. The name officially stood for "POK erythroid myeloid ontogenic factor", likely as a reference in the form of a backronym. It was eventually renamed due to The Pokémon Company's threats of legal action, who did not wish to be associated with the cancer-related gene.[3]

Animals

There are currently 16 species of real-world animals which are named after various Pokémon species, as well as two genera.

Species Pokémon Notes
Bulbasaurus phylloxyron[4][5][6] Dicynodont Bulbasaur   "The genus Bulbasaurus (bulb lizard) refers to the bulbous nasal boss [...]" "[It's not named after the Pokémon] as published, no, but...if one wished to read between the lines concerning certain similarities, I wouldn't stop them."
Chilicola charizard[7] Bee Charizard   "The specific epithet is in homage to the fictional monster which this species resembles."
Stentorceps weedlei[8][9] Wasp Weedle   "Named in honour of the creature Weedle, a hymenopteran larva from the Pokémon video game series. Weedle shares the distinguishing character of S. weedlei, a spine in the middle of its head."
Dicranocentrus pikachu[10] Springtail Pikachu  
Epicratinus pikachu[11] Spider "The specific epithet is a noun taken in apposition and is in reference to Pikachu [...] The female epigynum resembles the face of Pikachu."
Alistra pikachu[12] Spider "The species is named after Pikachu, a fictional character from Pokémon Yellow, as the habitus color of this new species is yellow."
Hiperantha pikachu[13] Beetle "The specific name is a homage to Pikachu, a fictional monster which this species resembles in its yellow elytra with a black apical band (like the ears of Pikachu)."
Aerodactylus[14] Pterosaur Aerodactyl   "The name derives from the Nintendo Pokémon Aerodactyl, a fantasy creature made up of a combination of different pterosaurian features."
Binburrum articuno[15][16] Fire-colored beetle Articuno   "Pollock said it was Hsiao’s idea to name the beetles after the rare legendary bird Pokémon. In the original Red and Blue games – the “first generation” games, Hsiao’s favorite – in the U.S., there was only one of each type of bird available to the player. Naming the beetles after the one-of-kind birds was a nod of sorts to how rare the beetles are, Pollock said."
Binburrum zapdos[15][16] Zapdos  
Binburrum moltres[15][16] Moltres  
Hedruris dratini[17][18] Nematode Dratini   "Do #Pokemon get parasites? Maybe? Well, there certainly are parasites named after Pokémons[sic] - like these two parasitic nematodes!"
Parapharyngodon politoedi[19] Roundworm Politoed   "The species epithet is derived from the fictional character named ‘Politoed’ a frog-type Pokémon from the Pokémon Universe."
Rathalos treecko[12] Spider Treecko   "The species is named after Treecko, a fictional character from Pokémon Emerald that lives in the forest, as does the new species."
Anyphaena grovyle[12] Grovyle   "The species is named after Grovyle, a fictional character from Pokémon Emerald that lives in the forest, as does the new species."
Anyphaena sceptile[12] Sceptile   "The species is named after Sceptile, a fictional character from Pokémon Emerald that lives in the forest, as does the new species."
Nocticola pheromosa[20][21] Cockroach Pheromosa   "Entomologist Foo Maosheng, who co-authored the finding, said: “There are some similarities between Pheromosa and the delicate cockroach that we found, such as having a long antenna, wings that mimic a hood and long slender legs.

“Both my collaborator and I are Pokemon fans, so we thought, why not name it after a Pokemon inspired by a cockroach.”"

Phrynarachne dreepy[22] Spider Dreepy   "The species is named after Dreepy, a fictional character from Pokémon Sword and Shield, who has a triangular head that is reminiscent of the opisthosoma of the new species."

References

  1. Sato, S. et al. (2008). Pikachurin, a dystroglycan ligand, is essential for photoreceptor ribbon synapse formation. Nature Neuroscience, 11(8): 923–931.
  2. (July 22, 2008). "Researchers: 'Pikachurin' protein linked with kinetic vision." The Daily Yomiuri (archived).
  3. Pokemon USA threatens to sue cancer researchers | GameSpot
  4. An early geikiid dicynodont from the Tropidostoma Assemblage Zone (late Permian) of South Africa
  5. Scientists Who Discovered Bulbasaurus Didn’t Name It After A Pokémon
  6. Tweet from @Synapsida (archived)
  7. A revision of Chilicola (Heteroediscelis), a subgenus of xeromelissine bees (Hymenoptera, Colletidae) endemic to Chile: taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography, with descriptions of eight new species
  8. Redescription of Stentorceps Quinlan, 1984 (Hymenoptera: Figitidae), with a Description of Five New Species
  9. Stentorceps weedlei Nielsen & Buffington
  10. New species and new records of Dicranocentrus Schött, 1893 (Collembola: Entomobryidae) from Southeastern Brazil
  11. Taxonomic review and cladistic analysis of Neotropical spider genus Epicratinus Jocqué & Baert, 2005 (Araneae: Zodariidae) with description of eleven new species
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 Twenty-three new spider species (Arachnida: Araneae) from Asia
  13. Notes on Stigmoderini (Coleoptera, Buprestidae) from Brazil, with the description of a new species of Hiperantha Gistel, 1834, and new distributional records
  14. Pterodactylus scolopaciceps Meyer, 1860 (Pterosauria, Pterodactyloidea) from the Upper Jurassic of Bavaria, Germany: The Problem of Cryptic Pterosaur Taxa in Early Ontogeny
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Contribution to the knowledge of the endemic Australian genus Binburrum Pollock, 1995 (Coleoptera: Pyrochroidae: Pilipalpinae), with description of three new species
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 These three Australian beetles are hard to find. So two researchers named them after Pokémon.
  17. A new species of Hedruris (Nematoda: Hedruridae) from freshwater turtles, its life cycle and biogeographic distribution of the genus
  18. Tweet from @JHelminthology
  19. A new species of Parapharyngodon Chatterji, 1933 (Oxyuroidea: Pharyngodonidae), parasitic in Osteocephalus taurinus (Anura: Hylidae) from Brazil
  20. A new macropterous Nocticola Bolivar, 1892 (Blattodea: Nocticolidae) from Singapore
  21. New species of cockroach found in Singapore, named after Pokemon character.
  22. Taxonomic notes on the genus Phrynarachne from China (Araneae, Thomisidae)


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