Published: Tue, October 29, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

New Species of Beetle Named After Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

New Species of Beetle Named After Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

Measuring just 0.79 millimetres, the beetle has no eyes or wings, with a small pit between where the eyes should have been.

It does, however, have long antennae on its head which resemble pigtails like those the campaigner wears. According to London's Natural History Museum, the newly named arthropod "belongs to a group of some of the smallest known free-living animals".

"But the world ignored her".

The soil sample had been stored in the UK Natural History Museum's collections, and now following analysis using high-powered microscopes the tiny beetle has been identified as a new species.

The latest finding is yet another incidence of a new species being identified in a museum collection.

An 18-year-old plaintiff, Sophia Sidarous, of the Metepenagiag First Nation in Quebec, told the Vancouver crowd that the climate crisis threatened her way of life and the existence of the Mi'kmaq people.

A handout picture released by Pemberley Books on October 25, 2019 and first published in Entomologists Monthly Magazine shows the beetle Nelloptodes gretae, named after teenaged Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Scientists at the Museum now officially refer to the insect as Nelloptodes gretae.

"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", he said.

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The museum's senior beetle curator, Max Barclay, said the name was well-deserved because many undiscovered species of beetle are likely going extinct because of biodiversity loss.

Greta Thunberg was nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Also attending were Indigenous leaders and climate activists David Suzuki and his daughter Severn Cullis-Suzuki, who, like Thunberg, gave an impassioned speech to a group of leaders at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 when she was a child.

The youth-led climate protests which kicked off across the world were inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who went on a three-week school strike outside her country's parliament in summer a year ago.

Nine-year-old twins Charlotte and Oakley Johnson-Mason chose the same words to describe the 16-year-old: "really awesome".

What began as a lone fight in August past year outside the Swedish parliament spread all over the world and involved more than 100,000 schoolchildren in 112 different countries.

These solitary strikes sparked a global movement calling for climate action, which now involves millions of people around the world.

The people in power need to start to realize what they are doing to future generations, to us, and especially to people in parts of the world who are already being affected and suffering from the climate and ecological crisis.

Greta with her hair in pig tail plaits.

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