Call me Sphen... 
Spheniscus demersus and other fun names 


The official name of the African penguin is spheniscus demersus, of the spheniscidae family. According to Merriam-Webster, spheniscus comes from the Greek spheniskos, meaning 'small wedge.' According to Google, demersus means 'plunging,' so put altogether we arrive at the scientific definition of an African penguin as "a small, plunging wedge." Much better than their 'jackass penguin' nickname for sure (named for the sounds they make). 

But two of the penguins in the pictures on Tuesday have nothing to do with plunging or jackassery... the penguins in couple three are actually speniscus magellanicus, or Magellanic penguins from South America. As far as I can tell, they can be spotted by the extra black band between their stomachs and faces, having two stripes under the head instead of one.



Spheniscus magellanicus
Spehiniscus demersus