Professor names beetle species after ‘Game of Thrones’

This undated photo provided by Brett Ratcliffe in December 2018 shows a Gymnetis viserioni beetle from the Calima Valley in Colombia. Ratcliffe named three of his eight newest beetle discoveries after the dragons from the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and George R.R. Martin book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.” (Brett Ratcliffe via AP)

LINCOLN, Neb. — A Nebraska entomologist has named three of his eight newest beetle discoveries after the dragons from the HBO series “Game of Thrones” and George R.R. Martin book series “A Song of Ice and Fire.”

University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Brett Ratcliffe named the new scarab beetle species drogoni, rhaegali and viserioni, The Omaha World-Herald reported . The names are Latinized versions of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion, three dragons owned by Daenerys Targaryen’s character in the fictional work.

Radcliffe said he’s a fan of the series, but ultimately chose the names to draw attention to biodiversity and the amount of undiscovered species.

“When you create names like these, you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and bring public attention to it,” Ratcliffe said. “We’re still discovering life on Earth. One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle. We haven’t discovered them all. We’re not even close.”

Ratcliffe said he’s named hundreds of species over his 50-year career and creating new names becomes difficult. Naming rules recommend against using humour or insults, and are particularly useful to avoid having duplicate names, he said.

Ratcliffe said he went with the pop culture reference to have a little bit of fun.

“I’ve often thought that scientists take themselves too seriously,” Ratcliffe said, “and this is a way to circumvent that.”

Drogoni and viserioni can be found in Colombia and Ecuador, while rhaegali is in the French Guiana. All three have orange features.

Just Posted

Alberta budget Oct. 24: Premier says will have tough touches to fight deficit

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says the Alberta budget is to be… Continue reading

Olive the owl joins wildlife centre

Owl rescued from Red Deer Golf course

Flurries possible for Red Deer on the weekend

Drastic change in weather is on the way

Updated: Red Deer RCMP make city’s biggest ever fentanyl bust

More than 3,500 fentanyl tablets and other drugs seized last month

Your community calendar

Tuesday Bower Place Community Association Seniors Card and Coffee party at 1:30… Continue reading

Police investigating homicide after woman found dead in residential building in Winnipeg

Winnipeg police say they are investigating a homicide after a woman was… Continue reading

Samsung’s folding phone hits the US

NEW YORK — Samsung’s folding phone is finally hitting the U.S. Samsung… Continue reading

Thomas Cook collapse means headaches for Transat as partnership deal dies

MONTREAL — Tour operator Transat Inc. says it could face fallout from… Continue reading

Mikkelson sees evidence of success in women’s hockey showcase in Toronto

TORONTO — Two-time Olympic gold medallist Meaghan Mikkelson woke up in her… Continue reading

Canada downs Mexico 109-53 in women’s basketball AmeriCup opener

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Jamie Scott had 21 points, including five… Continue reading

Pink and red combos, Hollywood gold on the Emmys carpet

NEW YORK — Julia Louis-Dreyfus stunned in classic Hollywood gold, Zendaya donned… Continue reading

‘Everest has not gone away:’ Sharon Wood tells story of historic summit in book

CANMORE, Alta. — More than three decades after becoming the first woman… Continue reading

Most Read