sn-Darwinilus sedarisi.jpg

Natural History Museum of London

ScienceShot: New Beetle Named After Darwin and David Sedaris

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Beth Skwarecki
2014-02-12 08:00
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One thing you may not know about Charles Darwin: He loved beetles. The famed naturalist made sure to include the insects among the specimens he collected while sailing on the HMS Beagle's round-the-world expedition as a young man. Now, on his 205th birthday, one he found in Argentina is being recognized as a new species. University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, entomologist Stylianos Chatzimanolis discovered the rove beetle with unusually saw-toothed antennae and a label reading "C. Darwin" in a collection on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, where it had been misplaced for at least decades. The beetle represented a new species, which is formally named and described in the journal ZooKeys today. The beetle is now known as Darwinilus sedarisi, after Darwin and the writer David Sedaris, whose audiobooks Chatzimanolis listened to while preparing specimens. Sadly, the area of Argentina where Darwin found this beetle is now mostly farm fields, and the insect hasn't been seen there in recent history. It's possible that this newly recognized species is already extinct.

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