03:29 GMT +313 November 2019
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    Greta Thunberg

    Meet the Blind Beetle Named After Eco-Activist Greta Thunberg

    CC BY-SA 4.0 / Anders Hellberg / Greta Thunberg
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    The pale yellow and gold insect remained nameless for decades until an entomologist stumbled upon it when looking through a collection of samples of soil and leaf litter from Kenya.

    Britain’s Natural History Museum (NHM) on Friday named a tiny insect in honour of the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

    The beetle, which has no eyes or wings and is measuring 0.79 millimetres, is formally named Nelloptodes gretae.

    According to the HHM, the minuscule species is part of the Ptiliidae family of beetles. This family contains some of the smallest creatures in the world, with a length of 0.3 to 4.0 mm.

    N. gretae belongs to a collection of samples of soil and leaf litter from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, compiled in the 1960s and donated to the NHM in 1978. The insect remained nameless until Michael Darby, the museum’s scientific associate, came across it as he was studying the samples with a high-powered microscope.

    “I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner and wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues,” he told AFP.

    The Entomologist's Monthly Magazine today published Darby’s paper naming the species.

    Dr Max Barclay, the entomologist who manages beetle collections in the NHM, said the name was apt because “it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time,” and Greta Thunberg “has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species.”

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