ICMD, May 1, 2018

Amateur scientists have discovered a new species of water beetle and named it after Leonardo DiCaprio to honour the Oscar-winning Hollywood actor’s efforts towards biodiversity preservation.

The water beetle, described in the journal ZooKeys, was discovered at a waterfall in the remote Maliau Basin in Malaysian Borneo.

During a field trip initiated by Taxon Expeditions - an organisation based in The Netherlands which arranges scientific surveys for untrained people - a total of three water beetle species new to science were identified.

The expedition participants and the local staff of the Maliau Basin Studies Centre voted to name one of them Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi, in honour of DiCaprio’s efforts to protect untouched, unexplored wildernesses.

The tribute marks the 20th anniversary of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) and its efforts towards biodiversity preservation.

“Tiny and black, this new beetle may not win any Oscars for charisma, but in biodiversity conservation, every creature counts,” said Iva Njunjic, founder of Taxon Expeditions.

LDF has contributed to over 200 grassroots projects around the globe devoted to climate change mitigation, wildlife conservation, and habitat preservation. -- TH