Call of the wild: Naming competition gives public chance to name 10 native British species


Name needed: The Chrystotoxum elegans is a hoverfly which favours dry open grassland and is mainly found around the South West and south west Wales

The British public are being asked to come up with English names for 10 'fascinating' native species, including a sea spider and a metallic wasp, which are currently known only by their Latin identities.

The 'name a species' competition, being run by Natural England for the second year running, aims to rescue unnamed wildlife from obscurity amid concerns that species are disappearing without anyone noticing.

Among the list of species which people are being asked to name are a red and white tipped sea slug, an anemone, a fungus, a sand brittlestar, a hoverfly and a lichen that thinks it is a mushroom.

Judges in last year's competition, which attracted more than 3,000 entries, chose the 'Queen's executioner' as the overall winning name to describe a beetle which feeds on the larvae of other beetles and is found only in Windsor Great Park.

Xerocumus bubalinnus is a mushroom which likes growing with limes and helps trees by exchanging nutrients

Other winners included the sea piglet and witches' whiskers.

Pete Brotherton, head of biodiversity at Natural England, said: 'There is a wonderful array of fascinating creatures in this year's competition, from sea spiders and sea squirts, recently discovered mushrooms and rare hoverflies.

Chrysis fulgida (left) is a bright mettalic wasp which is endangered in Britain and lays its eggs in the nest of another species of wasp and Octospora humosa (right) is a bright reddish-orange fungus which shoots out its spores from elongated sacs

Lichenomphalia alpina (left) an unusual lichen which has a mushroom like reproductive structure and Coryphella browni (right) is a sea slug which feeds on tiny, stinging, jellyfish creatures which has stinging cells at the tip of its tentacles

Nymphon gracile (left) a sea spider which uses a proboscis to such out nourishment from its prey and Ophiura albida (right) is a brittlestar which uses snake-like motions to move along the seabed

Phallusia mammillata (left) is Britain's largest sea squirt, growing up to 12cm long. Sagartiogeton lacerates (right) is an anenome that grows up to six centimetres tall and has up to 200 tentacles

'Giving English names to these species will help give them a popular identity they are crying out for.'

The competition is being run in conjunction with the Guardian newspaper. Adam Vaughan, editor of, said Governments were waking up to the loss of wildlife around the world.

'But we need the public to sustain the pressure, and giving species colourful and memorable names is a vital step in protecting them,' he said.

source: dailymail