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Newly discovered beetle named after climate activist Greta Thunberg

The insect measures less than 1mm and has remained unnamed after first being discovered in Nairobi in the 1960s.

BRITAIN’S NATURAL HISTORY Museum has named a beetle after climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The honey-coloured insect, measures less than 1mm and was discovered in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi in the 1960s.

It is part of the Ptilidae species, which are usually found among leaves and soil. It has no eyes or wings and is distinguishable by a small pit found where its eyes would be. 

It apparently remained nameless until the London museum’s scientific associate Michael Darby stepped in.

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

The 16-year-old Swedish teenager’s activism has led to a global campaign to tackle climate change after launching her first school strikes one year ago.

Max Barclay, a senior curator at the 146-year-old museum, said “the name of this beetle is particularly poignant”.

“It is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time before scientists have named them because of biodiversity loss,” said Barclay.

“So it is appropriate to name one of the newest discoveries after someone who has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species.”

The museum said the beetle’s existence in its vast collection had only just been discovered. It’s formal scientific name is Nelloptodes gretae.

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It belongs to the “Ptiliidae family of beetles which includes some of the smallest insects in the world,” the museum said in a statement.

Earlier this month, British artist DJ Fatboy Slim paid tribute to Thunberg by using samples from her incandescent speech at the United Nations in a remix of his song Right Here, Right Now.

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