Why This Beetle Was Named After Leonardo DiCaprio
“We didn’t name the beetle because it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio.”
There’s a scene in “The Revenant” where Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gets mauled and gouged by a bear, left on the edge of death.
Earlier this year, scientists found a new species of beetle in Malaysia that was in a similarly battered condition, missing an antenna and leg as it clung to a sandstone in a rapid stream, according to the Guardian.
It was the first recorded capture of the beetle and they named it Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi in honor of the Oscar-winning actor, the Guardian reports.
The team found the small, black beetle in the Maliau Basin on the island of Borneo, which houses Malaysia, while on an expedition to train citizen scientists.
“In this case, we didn’t name the beetle because it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio,” Iva Njunjić at Taxon Expeditions, the group that led the trip, told the Guardian. “We wanted to highlight that even the smallest creature is important, such as this tiny beetle that nobody knew about before now.”
Throughout the trip, scientists used mesh nets to capture insects and then preserved them in alcohol. Back in the lab, scientists sequenced the DNA of the specimens and studied them under microscopes, according to the Guardian.
Another beetle was discovered during the trip and was named after the Dutch astronaut André Kuipers, according to the journal ZooKeys.
The beetle named for DiCaprio may fare better in future conservation efforts, however, merely because the actor has become synonymous with environmental activism in recent years.
DiCaprio has also donated tens of millions of dollars to conservation efforts through his eponymous foundation.
The beetle in Borneo may even benefit in a roundabout way from the actor’s efforts to stop deforestation throughout the island.
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