Are you an animal aficionado? Do you think you know all there is to know about the animal world? If so, then this is the quiz for you. We're pretty sure, though, that you might find this one more difficult than you think. Let's get started to find out how much you really know about animal names.
Now, by animal names, we're not talking about dogs named "Fido," elephants named "Dumbo," or bears named "Paddington." We're actually talking about the common names that we give to species in the animal kingdom that can be somewhat misleading. For instance, is a prairie dog really a dog? Is a starfish really a fish? And what the heck is a bearcat? Cat or bear?
So, the reality is that we often give names to things that don't actually reflect what the creature really is. This can happen because it is simply easy, because the name we give to a critter might reflect our limited understanding of the species at the time of discovery, or because the animal looks like another creature that we're more familiar with.
So, to answer the above questions, a prairie dog is not really a dog, a starfish is not really a fish, and a bearcat is neither a bear nor a cat.
Take this quiz to find out how much you know about misleading animal names.
The white rhino comes in two colors: light grey or mud-colored from the day's wallowing.
Prairie dogs aren't canines, but rather they're Cynomys -- ground squirrels.
Starfish, also known as the sea star, aren't fish (or stars). They're echinoderms, just like sea lilies and sand dollars.
A bearcat is actually a member of the civet family, which means they're more closely related to mongoose and meerkats than to bears or cats.
Despite being well-known as a koala bear, koala aren't bears. They're marsupials, just like the kangaroo.
The Anguis fagilis, the slow worm, is actually a limbless lizard.
They are, but they're actually bats.
Sea cucumbers aren't related to the gourds their name suggests. Rather, this marine animal is related to sea urchins and starfish, all of whom are echinoderms.
The electric eel is really an electric fish called a knifefish, which is more like a catfish than a true eel.
The thylacine was neither a wolf nor a tiger. It was a marsupial.
Killer whales (Orcinus orca) have teeth, which makes them the world's largest dolphin.
The African pygmy goose is not a goose, but it is in the same family. It's actually a type of perching duck native to sub-Sarahan Africa and Madagascar.
There are about 2,000 types of fireflies, and none of them are actually flies. Fireflies are really flying beetles and members of the family Lampyridae.
The vampire squid, with its big eyes and jellyfish-like body is a cephalopod with a name that means "vampire squid from hell" (Vampyroteuthis infernalis). But this faux-squid is the only member of the order Vampyromorphida, meaning it's not a true squid (which are members of the order Teuthida).
The horny toad has a bit of a toad-ish look about it, but it's actually a lizard. And, fun fact about the short-horned lizards: when its spiky back can't fend off a foe, some types shoot blood from their eyes in defense.
Mudpuppies, also known as waterdogs, are the largest of the salamanders, and one of the only types known to make noise.
Velvet ants are actually wasps.
A mantis shrimp is only distantly related to crabs, lobsters and shrimp. It's actually a stomatopod.
Dragonflies are neither dragons nor flies. They're carnivorous insects.
Because they are invertebrates, jellyfish don't qualify for fishhood. Jellies, as many prefer to call them, are medusozoa.
Snakes in the Naja genus are the "true cobras," which doesn't include the false water cobra. While FWCs are able to flatten their neck and body like a cobra hood, they're actually Hydrodynastes gigas.
Not only did the Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) not come from Guinea, it's not related to a pig. It is, however, a rodent from the Andes.
A glowworm is the name for certain beetle or gnat insect larvae that glows through bioluminescence. Fireflies are members of the insect famliy Lampyridae; glowworms are part of the Lampyridae family, but they're both insects (whereas a worm is not).
Fisher cats aren't, themselves, felines, although they're known to prey on cats (not fish). Fishers are actually closely related to weasels and are part of the marten genus.
The giant ditch frog (Leptodactylus fallax) is more commonly known as the mountain chicken because it tastes like chicken. (Doesn't everything, though?)
Seahorses live in the water but are known to be terrible swimmers.%0DIt's said they got their equine-inspired name because of their shape.
Even though the maned wolf is a canid, which means it's a relative of the wolf, it's actually in the same famliy as foxes and bush dogs.
Scientists don't really call them "flying lemurs" anymore, preferring the more-appropriate name, colugo. Colugos glide, rather than fly, from tree to tree.
The king cobra is part of the genus called, Ophiophagus, which is Greek for “snake eating" (and they live up to that description).
Mountain goats are actually goat-antelope: not a goat, nor an antelope, but a caprine (which also includes sheep and ibex).
Honey badgers love honey, but they are actually a badger-like mammal called a ratel.
Naval shipworms aren't worms nor are they in the military. They're actually saltwater clams.
The Bombay duck isn't a bird. It's a lizardfish.
Not only is this bird not a hawk (it's a member of the "goatsucker" or "nightjar" Caprimulgidae family), it's also not nocturnal (it prefers dawn and dusk, which means it's crepuscular).
These small (not giant) mammals are more closely related to elephants than shrews.