HE’S A yellow sea sponge who lives in the sea and a hilarious cartoon character who’s well-loved around the world.
Is it true that SpongeBob SquarePants also inspired the name of a fungus in Malaysia?
It does not live in a pineapple under the sea, but rather in the forests of Sarawak, Malaysia.
Shaped like a sea sponge, the Spongiforma squarepantsii is a fungus discovered by researchers in 2010 at the Lambir Hills National Park in Sarawak, Malaysia.
Researchers from the San Francisco State University (SFSU) found the species during an expedition to the forests of Borneo, according to a report by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).
"S. squarepantsii is shaped like a sea sponge and, say its discoverers, has a fruity or musty smell," read the report.
Under a scanning electron microscope, the spore-producing area of the fungus also looked like a seafloor carpeted in tube sponges, say the researchers.
This further convinced them to name the species after the cartoon character, read the report.
This discovery has also led the fungus to secure a place in the Guinness World Records as the first living species named after a character from the Spongebob Squarepants cartoon series.
According to the Guinness World Records website, the fungus was first described in 2011 in the scientific journal Mycologia.
"The orange-coloured fungus has a sponge-like texture that protects it from drying out.
"The paper was published in the online journal Mycologia in May 2011 by SFSU biologists Dennis E Desjardin, Kabir Peay, and Thomas Bruns, following the fungus' discovery by Bruns in 2010,” read an explanation on the site.