Finally: a beetle named after The Beatles

Naturalis Biodiversity Center
04-JUN-2020 - Scientists in the Netherlands today announce the discovery of a new beetle species named after The Beatles. The insect was found on a citizen science 'expedition' to the Vondelpark in the heart of Amsterdam - close to the Hilton where fifty years ago John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their 'Bed In For Peace'.

Insect species are sometimes named after famous musicians: there is a treehopper named after Lady Gaga, a fly named after Beyoncé, and four damselfly species named after all four members of Queen. But, surprisingly, no beetle has ever been named after the band The Beatles. In a new open access publication in Contributions to Zoology, scientists from the Netherlands now remedy this.

The new beetle species, Ptomaphagus thebeatles

Discoverd with citizen science

A group of insect experts and citizen scientists on an 'expedition' to the Vondelpark, the busiest city park in Amsterdam, discovered the new species of beetle, and decided to name it Ptomaphagus thebeatles. There are other reasons for honoring the fab four with this discovery: the beetle (two millimetres long, living in soil and feeding on fungi) was found just a stone's throw from the Amsterdam Hilton, where exactly fifty years earlier John Lennon and Yoko Ono did their famous Bed In For Peace.

The field trip was organised by Taxon Expeditions, which organises real scientific expeditions for the general public, with the aim to make scientific discoveries. During the research in the Vondelpark, the team also discovered a new parasitic wasp, which they named after the park - Aphaereta vondelparkensis.

Taxon Expeditions was founded by Iva Njunjić and Menno Schilthuizen of Naturalis Biodiversity Center. The Vondelpark expedition was held in collaboration with the Vrije Universiteit and the municipality of Amsterdam.

Participants Taxon Expeditions Vondelpark Amsterdam

The new beetle species, Ptomaphagus thebeatles

Text: Thirza Stam, Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Photo's: Erik-Jan Bosch, Naturalis Biodiversity Center; Iva Njunjić, Taxon Expeditions; Roel van Elsas, VU Amsterdam