New beetle species named after The Beatles

Scientists, including VU biologist Joris Koene, discovered a new beetle species and name it after The Beatles. The beetle was found during a citizen science expedition in the Vondelpark, near the Hilton Hotel where John Lennon and Yoko Ono held their "Bed In For Peace" fifty years ago.

06/04/2020 | 1:50 PM

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.

Discovered with citizen science
A group of insect experts and citizen scientists went on an expedition in the Vondelpark. There they 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 nearby the Amsterdam Hilton, where exactly 50 years earlier John Lennon and Yoko Ono did their famous Bed In For Peace.

Taxon Expeditions
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.

Photo: R. van Elsas (VU)