This Water Beetle Named After Leonardo DiCaprio Proves That True Celebrity Stans Know No Bounds
You deserve news that is good and pure today. So, here you go. Have this delightful piece of news about a newly discovered water beetle named after Leonardo DiCaprio. Oscar who? Golden Globe what? The most prestigious award in entertainment is to have a literal bug named after you, and Leonardo DiCaprio is the latest to be bestowed with this great honor.
The new beetle, officially named Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi, was discovered on the side of a remote waterfall in Malaysian Borneo. It’s super small, just three millimeters in length. The specific beetle that was found wasn’t in great shape, missing both an antennae and one of its front legs. Who hurt you, lil BB leo bug?
The scientists weren’t just Leo stans. In fact, the people who discovered the beetle weren’t even official researchers. They were part of a group of citizen scientists taking part in a program from Taxon Expeditions. A video about the discovery describes the beetle’s discoverers as “ecotourists trained by experts in rainforest biology.” That’s right. You too could discover a new type of bug and name it after after your favorite actor. I call dibs on a Tessa Thompson butterfly.
The name is meant to honor DiCaprio’s environmental work, like his efforts toward conservation and preventing climate change. A statement on the new people says the name is a tribute to “the 20th anniversary of the celebrity’s Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) and its efforts towards biodiversity preservation.”
Leo was so honored, he even made it a picture of the bug his Facebook profile picture.
Founded in 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is a nonprofit focused on wildlife protection and environmental conservation. Since 2010, the organization has awarded of $80 in grants to countries on nearly every continent in the world. The money goes toward “high-impact projects” in which scientists, philanthropists, and other organizations collaborate to protect the world’s most threatened ecosystems.
DiCaprio even dedicated part of his (long overdue) Oscar acceptance speech in 2016, affirming that “climate change is real, it is happening right now.” He added:
“It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this. For our children’s children, and for those people out there whose voices have been drowned out by the politics of greed. I thank you all for this amazing award tonight. Let us not take this planet for granted.”
The Leo beetle joins the ranks of other celebrity-inspired beetles, often named for their “resemblance” to a famous person. There’s a “big-armed fly species” named after Arnold Schwarzenegger. A moth named after Donald Trump as they both have a similar white-yellow “hair” atop their head. There is also the Heteropoda davidbowie, a spider discovered in Malaysia and named in honor of the music icon.
And who can forget the Jennifer Lopez water mite. Ah, such a beautiful ring to it. However, the insect, named Litarachna lopezae, fortunately wasn’t named based on its resemblance to the Hollywood multi-hyphenate. “The reason behind the unusual choice of name for the new species is ... simple: J.Lo’s songs and videos kept the team in a continuous good mood when writing the manuscript and watching World Cup soccer 2014,” biologist Vladimir Pesic, who works at the University of Montenegro and was one of the researchers on the team, said as reported by the Associated Press.
Once Lin-Manuel Miranda inevitably gets his EGOT, perhaps he can start working toward that coveted BEGOT: Bug, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony.