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Greta makes her mark in the insect world

Written by Science, Science & Tech

The Nelloptodes gretae beetle, inhabiting the soil of Kenya, has recently been named after the global warming warrior Greta Thunberg. Discovered in the 1960s, this teeny bug has been nameless until the recent dubbing by the Natural History Museum in London. This minute creature has no eyes, reduced wings and some of the tiniest beings in the world belong to its clan, the Coleoptera family Ptiliidae.

These beetles may be tiny, but they are vastly important for a healthy environment, much like Greta. They indeed epitomise her words – “You are never too small to make a difference.”

Michael Darby, the museum’s scientific associate who named the little bug praised Greta “I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner,”.

He “wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.”

Travelling via boat to reduce her carbon footprint, Greta is currently in America to join colossal climate protests scheduled in New York. She is yet to comment on this scientific recognition in the form of a beetle, but has recently declined an award from the Nordic Council for her environmental activism. “The climate movement does not need any more awards.”, stated the frustrated activist.

Around 17,000 to 24,000 animal species are named every year. The fact that the discovering scientist can name their found species, can lead to some strange and bizarre nomenclature. A small parasite of the Caribbean Gnathia marleyi, is named after reggae legend Bob Marley, purely because this crustacean’s discoverer had true “respect and admiration” for good old Bob’s tunes. At home in our natural world currently is also the Beyonce Horse fly, John Cleese Lemur and Kate Winslet beetle.

Last modified: 10th November 2019

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