New animal species are often named after scientists or celebrities such as the blonde-haired Donald Trump moth and the big-armed Arnold Schwarzenegger fly but this time the citizen scientists who found it have decided to name it after their favorite star Leonardo DiCaprio.
The newly discovered water beetle, described in the open access journal ZooKeys, was given the name of Hollywood actor and environmentalist as a tribute to mark the 20th anniversary of the celebrity's Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) and its efforts toward charities involved in 200 grassroots projects working on climate change mitigation, wildlife conservation, and habitat preservation.
"We can all have an impact," says DiCaprio in a special LDF video, "but we have to work together to protect our only home."
The new wte beetle Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi was discovered at a waterfall in the remote Maliau Basin, Malaysian Borneo, during the first field trip initiated by Taxon Expeditions busy finding previously unknown species and bridge the gap in biodiversity knowledge.
The expedition has so far identified a total of three water beetle species new to science, and the local staff of the Maliau Basin Studies Centre voted to name one of them after DiCaprio as a tribute to his efforts to protect untouched, unexplored wildernesses just like Maliau Basin itself.
"Tiny and black, this new beetle may not win any Oscars for charisma, but in biodiversity conservation, every creature counts," said Taxon Expeditions' entomologist Dr. Iva Njunjic.