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.
'You are never too small to make a difference.'— Natural History Museum (@NHM_London) October 25, 2019
A new species of miniature beetle has been named after @GretaThunberg, in recognition of her advocacy for climate action and protecting the natural world 🌍🐞 https://t.co/BWMgS2VbcM
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.”