New beetle named after climate activist Greta Thunberg

Image Source: Micheal Darby

Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is a household name today, thanks to her relentless efforts to bring the world’s attention to the exacerbating problem of climate change. She has singlehandedly spearheaded the youth protests against climate change that have been taking place across various nations of the world. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for 2019.

Now, Greta Thunberg has been honoured in a very unique manner.

A new species of a beetle called Nelloptodes gretae, belonging to the family of Ptiliidae, has been named after her.

The beetle is not very well known due to its small size and is just 0.79 millimetres long. It has no eyes or wings and is pale yellow and gold.

“I’m really a great fan of Greta,” Michael Darby, a scientific associate at the museum who named the new beetle, said in a statement. “She is a great advocate for saving the planet and she is amazing at doing it, so I thought that this was a good opportunity to recognize that.” In naming the species after Thunberg, Darby said that he “wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.”

He was supported by Dr Max Barclay, the museum’s senior curator in charge of beetles, who added that the name was apt because “it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time, before scientists have even named them, because of biodiversity loss.”

This species was originally found in Kenya by entomologist William Brock in the mid-60s. Brock, subsequently, donated the samples of the insects to the Natural History Museum in London in 1978.

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