New species of beetle named after Greta Thunberg

25 October 2019, 17:46

The beetle has been named the Nelloptodes gretae
The beetle has been named the Nelloptodes gretae. Picture: Natural History Museum and PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

A recently discovered species of beetle has been named after Greta Thunberg in a nod to the teenager's activism against climate change.

The beetle, now named Nelloptodes gretae, belongs to the family of Ptiliidae and is known for its tiny size.

It is pale yellow and gold in colour, and measures around 0.79 millimetres on average.

The creature also has no eyes or wings, and has a small pit where the eyes would usually be, according to the Natural History Museum.

Nelloptodes gretae is known for its microscopic size
Nelloptodes gretae is known for its microscopic size. Picture: Natural History Museum

The museum's scientific associate Michael Darby β€” who named the beetle β€” said the critters are "some of the smallest known free-living creatures".

"They are parasitic and are not living inside other creatures," he said. "Few of them measure more than a milimetre long."

Speaking about his decision to honour a 16-year-old with the naming of the species, Mr Darby said he was "a great fan" of hers.

He added: "She is a great advocate for saving the planet and she is amazing at doing it, so I thought that this was a good opportunity to recognise that."

Greta, who has become the face of the climate change movement, is best known for launching the Friday's For Future weekly protests, which have attracted the support of thousands of young people around the world.

Greta is known for launching the Friday's For Future protests
Greta is known for launching the Friday's For Future protests. Picture: PA

Mr Darby has also stressed that his honouring of the young Swede with the beetle naming has nothing to do with size.

"I've not named this species after Greta because it is small β€”it's just that this is the group that I work on."

To illustrate his point further, he drew on a quote from Greta herself: "Many people say that Sweden is just a small country and it doesn't matter what we do.

"But I've learned you are never too small to make a difference."