Teemo in the wild: scientists name newly discovered species in honor of League champ

The devilish Teemo has ventured from the virtual universe of League of Legends into our natural world as a recently discovered new species of crab has been named after the little Yordle scout.

While the Teemo of the deep may not be planting invisible mushrooms, its resemblance to the league champion has charmed scientists so much that they named the little crab after the Bandle Scout. And much like how Teemo was one of the first Yordles to be added to League, the newly discovered little crab is the first of its entire genus, a classification system that encompasses species that share a recent common ancestor—basically a new family. 

the Teemo crab
Here’s the little crab named after Teemo. Image via Zoosystematics and Evolution

Published in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution, the discovery was made during an expedition to the coral reefs of the South China Sea by marine biologists Zi-Ming Yuan, Wei Jiang, and Zhong-Li Sha. A few specimens of the Teemo crab were then carefully photographed and collected during scuba diving expeditions and subsequently housed at the Marine Biological Museum in the city of Qingda.

The crab—whose official name is “Gothus Teemo”—has a small, fluffy appearance akin to the Swift Scout himself. Its distinguishing features include a “dense coat of short setae” and brown-striped coloration, which reminded the scientists of the champion’s furry coat—and its camouflage abilities. 

This marks the first time an animal has been named after a League character, though not the first time a video game has inspired a scientific name. For example, a tiny wasp with fiery red markings was named “Anaphes charizard” after the iconic fire-breathing Pokémon, and the extinct bandicoot, “Crashbandicoot waitabit,” named after Crash Bandicoot. With so many nerds involved in both fields, it’s surely just a matter of time until we get even more examples of the enduring influence of virtual legends on our natural world.

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