Scientists Name New Species Of Beetle After Greta Thunberg

by : Emma Rosemurgey on : 26 Oct 2019 10:03
Scientists Name New Species Of Beetle After Greta ThunbergScientists Name New Species Of Beetle After Greta ThunbergPA/The Trustees of the Natural History Museum

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.

Scientists Name New Species Of Beetle After Greta ThunbergScientists Name New Species Of Beetle After Greta ThunbergThe Trustees of the Natural History Museum

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.

Greta ThunbergGreta ThunbergPA

‘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.

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Emma Rosemurgey

Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.

Topics: Science, Beetle, Greta Thunberg, Natural History Museum, Nelloptodes gretae


  1. MailOnline

    Scientists name new species of tiny, wingless beetle with long pigtail-like antennae after Greta Thunberg