Greta Thunberg meets her namesake: One mighty, but minuscule beetle

Finally, years after having a pipsqueak-sized beetle named after her, climate activist Greta Thunberg got to meet her namesake.

The new species of beetle’s scientific names is Nelloptodes gretae and was so0named in 2019 for Thunberg’s for efforts protect our planet, London’s Natural History Museum said at the time. That’s also where the 18-year-old Swedish activist met the teeny-tiny insect Friday ahead of the COP26 opening.

“Climate activist Greta Thunberg has visited the Museum and explored its display dedicated to the planetary emergency – Our Broken Planet: How We Got Here and Ways to Fix It,” the museum said.

The free display explores how humans have transformed the natural world, according to the museum.

The beetle was collected in samples of soil and leaf litter from Nairobi in the 1960s and ended up in the museum, among other things in a donated collection, years later.

Dr Michael Darby, a scientific sssociate at the Museum, was the one who eventually identified and named the beetle.

“I chose this name as I am immensely impressed with the work of this young campaigner and wanted to acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues,” he said.

The beetle named after Greta Thunberg. Photo: Natural History Museum

The beetle is less than one millimetre long. It belongs to the Ptiliidae family of beetles, which has some of the smallest insects in the world.

“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, because of biodiversity loss – so it was appropriate to name one of the newest discoveries after someone who has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species,” Dr. Max Barclay, senior curator in charge of Coleoptera at the Museum, said in a statement.

Greta Thunberg gets a closer look at the teeny tiny beetle. Photo: Natural History Museum/Twitter

COP26 is the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which takes place in the UK from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12.

The summit aims to bring world leaders and institutions together to move more quickly on the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Photo: Natural History Museum

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