Thursday, 3 May 2018

New beetle species named after Leonardo DiCaprio

Water beetle species found in Malaysia was named after the Titanic star for his environmental activism

Ian SampleScience editor
Mon 30 Apr 2018 16.00 BSTLast modified on Mon 30 Apr 2018 22.00 BST

A new species of water beetle found clinging to a sandstone rock in a fast-flowing stream that leads to a waterfall in Malaysian Borneo has been named after the actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

The tiny black insect, which has a partially retractable head and slightly protruding eyes, was named after the star of Titanic and The Revenant for his environmental activism.

Citizen scientists who took part in an expedition to Borneo’s Maliau Basin recovered the first known specimen of Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi from a shallow stream about a kilometre above sea level. The 3mm-long beetle was rather battered and lacked a front leg and antenna.

The field trip to Borneo was arranged by scientists at Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and a Dutch firm, Taxon Expeditions, that trains paying members of the public in the scientific techniques used to capture, study and identify new species. The beetle was named after DiCaprio after the citizen scientists and staff at the Maliau Basin Studies Centre voted at a ceremony at the end of the trip.

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