Former Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista has a new namesake buzzing around, thanks to a scientist at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
Entomologist Bob Anderson has dubbed a newly discovered species of beetle Sicoderus bautistai after the MLB all-star.
Anderson decided to name the insect — known as a weevil for its long snout — after Bautista because of the dramatic bat-flip home run that propelled the Jays to the American League Championship Series in 2015.
The avid sports fan had been watching the game with his daughter and wanted to immortalize the moment.
“It was one of those moments in Toronto baseball sort of lore where he hit this big home run,” Anderson said Thursday from Ottawa, where the museum is located. “And I thought what a great way to kind of recognize his contributions to Blue Jay baseball and to Canadian baseball, really, as a whole.”
Scientists often look to where a species was found or what it does when choosing a name, Anderson said.
He’s personally named about 120 weevils over his career. One species is named after the father of Canadian author Margaret Atwood, whose father was an entomologist.
“One of the nice things about this is that you have some latitude to do something kind of quirky,” he said.
“(Naming) sort of builds on a history and the names tell little stories.”
The Sicoderus bautistai is a tiny black weevil that is found in the Dominican Republic, Bautista’s home country.
There isn’t much known about the insects because they’re relatively rare, Anderson said, but they likely feed on tropical trees or vines.
Bautista, meanwhile, has fed on opposing pitchers. He has hit 344 home runs since making his MLB debut in 2004.
The 38-year-old played in Toronto from 2009 to 2017 before jumping between the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies. He’s currently a free agent.
Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press