The Big Bang Theory's geeky physicist Sheldon Cooper has received a real-life honour: a species of bee named after his catchphrase "Bazinga!"

Brazilian biologist Andre Nemesio of the Universidade Federal de Uberlandia has named a species of Brazilian orchid bee Euglossa bazinga.

The move was to pay tribute to "the clever, funny, nerd character" portrayed by Emmy-winning actor Jim Parsons on the top-rated U.S. sitcom.

According to Nemesio, who with his colleagues published a paper in the Zootaxa zoological journal in December, the "misunderstood" bee had long fooled scientists for some time because of its similarity to other, more common species.

The Big Bang Theory team is "always flattered when the science community embraces our show," Steven Molaro, one of its executive producers, said in a statement issued Wednesday.

"Sheldon would be honored to know that Euglossa bazinga was inspired by him. In fact, after Mothra and griffins, bees are his third-favorite flying creatures."

Created by TV veteran Chuck Lorre, The Big Bang Theory follows the hijinks of a pair of brilliant and socially awkward Caltech physicist-roommates, their nerdy scientist friends and the sassy waitress and aspiring actress neighbour living across the hall.

The show, which features a theme song by Canadian band Barenaked Ladies, has featured a host of real-life physicists, astronauts, and scientists as well as science-related film and TV stars as guests on the show, from Stephen Hawking to Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy and Wil Wheaton.