A water beetle species found in Malaysian Borneo has been named after Leonardo DiCaprio to acknowledge his environmental activism. The beetle, which is black, 3mm long and has a partially retractable head, was found clinging to a rock in a shallow stream. Scientists from Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines and a Dutch firm, Taxon Expeditions, found the insect in poor condition.
The scientists were on a trip where members of the public pay to be trained in the techniques used to find and identify new species. At the end of the expedition, the scientists and staff at the Maliau Basin Studies Centre voted at a ceremony to name the new species after DiCaprio. It has officially been named grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi.
“We didn’t name the beetle because it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio,” jokes Iva Njunjić at Taxon Expeditions. “We wanted to highlight that even the smallest creature is important, such as this tiny beetle that nobody knew about before now”, The Guardian reports.
DiCaprio has been campaigning for an environmentally-friendly world since launching his foundation in 1998. The Oscar-winning actor is committed to promoting sustainability, protecting endangered wildlife and reversing the harsh effects of climate change. In 2016, the United Nations presented DiCaprio with an award for his work. During his acceptance speech, he said that tackling climate change could be the biggest economic opportunity in United States history. Just last year, the star donated $20 million to support wildlife protection, climate change and marine conservation.
While Njunjić says the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is yet to respond to the news, DiCaprio updated his profile picture on his official Facebook page to an image of the beetle (pictured below).