Health & Science

Pokemon Pheromosa inspires name of new cockroach species found in Singapore

The Pokemon Pheromosa inspired the name of a new species of cockroach found in Singapore.

Nocticola pheromosa
Nocticola pheromosa a new cockroach species found in Singapore named after the Pokemon character Pheromosa | © Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

Two scientists and Pokemon fans named a new cockroach species found in a nature reserve in Singapore, Nocticola pheromosa, after the Pokemon character Pheromosa.

Two entomologists from Singapore and the Philippines published the discovery in the Journal of Asia-Pacific Entomology on February 27.

Both my collaborator and I are also Pokemon fans, so we thought why not name the cockroach after a Pokemon inspired by a cockroach,” said Foo Maosheng from the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum to The Straits Times.

Pheromosa appeared in the seventh generation of the Pokemon franchise released in the games Pokemon Sun and Pokemon Moon in 2016. This fictional species was primarily inspired by the American cockroach, according to the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum.

Its exterior resembled a known species, but dissections of the specimens identified some traits, such as their male genitalia, that proved it was a unique species.

It is the first time a cockroach from the genus Nocticola has been detected in Singapore. The cockroach was not unknown in Singapore by nature observers, but it was not formally documented and studied. Cockroaches are a lot less studied than some other insects because of their poor reputation.

The fully-winged cockroach specimens were found between 2016 and 2017 in the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Singapore’s central business district. Their closest relative is a cockroach from Borneo, but it is still unknown where the Nocticola pheromosa originated. Only 32 species under the same Nocticolidae family have been documented from Africa, India, Southeast Asia and Australia to date.

However, it is not the first time Pokemon has been an inspiration source for animal naming. In 2021, three Australian beetles were named after bird Pokemon Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres because of their fiery colors.

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