A species of beetle has been named after Greta Thunberg to pay homage to her ‘outstanding contribution’ to raising awareness of climate change.
The Nelloptodes gretae, which previously had no name despite being discovered 50 years ago, has no eyes, no wings and is just 1mm long.
However, the creature does have long antennae on its head that resemble pigtails and has been likened to the campaigner.
It was named by experts at the National History Museum in London, who wanted to honour Greta’s immensely impressive’ work in bringing climate change conversation to the international table.
At just 16 years of age, she has risen to fame around the world for fearlessly talking out against world leaders in their approach to tackling the environmental issues.
Dr Michael Darby, a scientific associate at the museum, found the insect in its collection of millions of animal specimens. It had initially been found by British naturalist Dr William Block in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1965, and was donated to the Natural History Museum in 1978.
The Nelloptodes gretae spent many years unidentified and until now, unnamed, before its classification was revealed as an entirely new species.
It is part of the Ptiliidae family of beetles, which includes some of the world’s smallest insects.
Dr Darby told the MailOnline he chose the name to acknowledge, Greta’s ‘outstanding contribution’ to raising awareness of environmental issues.
‘I chose this name as I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner,’ said Dr Darby.
‘And I wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.’
Dr Max Barclay, senior curator in charge of Coleoptera at the Natural History Museum, told the news outlet:
The name of this beetle is particularly poignant since it is likely that undiscovered species are being lost all the time, before scientists have even named them.
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.
Greta was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019, following her emotive and powerful speech at the UN Climate Summit earlier in the year.