Not only does Sir David Attenborough have a world-renowned (not to mention internet-famous) boat named after him, he also has an impressive list of taxonomic tributes to his name. While at least 15 (living and extinct) species and genera have been named in Attenborough’s honour, here’s our top ten.

Microleo attenboroughi
Essentially an 18 million year old kitty kat. Despite its relation to the infamous, four-legged king of the jungle, the miniature marsupial lion would have been no bigger than a possum.

Prethopalpus attenboroughi
Also referred to as Attenborough’s goblin spider. At a little over a millimetre long, the goblin spider might be one tiny arachnid, but it’s a grand gesture nontheless.

Electrotettix attenboroughi
An extinct pygmy locust found in 2014 encased in amber. Something that his Jurassic Park-starring older brother, the late Richard Attenborough, would have surely gotten a chuckle from.

Blakea attenboroughii
The Attenborough Tree, discovered in 2007 by the World Land Trust’s Lou Jost. Sir David became WLT’s official Patron in 2003 and has been supportive of the aims and objectives of the Trust ever since.

Materpiscis attenboroughi
Translates as Attenborough’s mother fish. A pretty big deal in many circles as it sets in stone the ancient roots of live birth (or viviparity), hence the name.

Zaglossus attenboroughi
Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna. This echidna is a particularly unsociable little New Guinean, only coming together with its own kind but once a year.

Attenborougharion rubicundus
Discovered in 2016 and measuring 35-45mm long, this snail (technically a semi-slug on account of its inability to retract into its own shell) can only be found in Australia and a small area in south-east Tasmania.

Cascolus ravitis
A 430-million-year-old fossil with a very clever name. Cascolus is the Latin rendering of the Old English source for the surname Attenborough. While Ravitis is a nod to the Roman name for Leicester, where Sir David lived on the city’s university campus.

Attenborosaurus
Unlike the rest of the names on this list, the Attenborosaurus is not a not a species but a genus. Once thought to be a new species of Plesiosaur, a re-examination of the fossil soon lead to its naming of Attenborosaurus at the hands of famed paleontologist, Robert Bakker. 

Nepenthes attenboroughii
Not an animal, but a plant. And a pretty unsettling one at that. Nepenthes attenboroughii – or pitcher plant – is a carnivorous, rat-eating plant hailing from the Philippines that traps its prey before digesting them with powerful acidic enzymes.


Words by Will HALBERT