Date
24 September 2017
President Xi Jinping (above) may not know that a new beetle species, rhyzodiastes (temoana) xii (right), has been named after him. Photos: Xinhua, http://biotaxa.org
President Xi Jinping (above) may not know that a new beetle species, rhyzodiastes (temoana) xii (right), has been named after him. Photos: Xinhua, http://biotaxa.org

Why you should not name a bug after Xi Jinping

A Chinese entomologist who named a newly discovered beetle species after President Xi Jinping is learning that his gesture is not welcome in China.

Wang Chengbin from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague wrote about his “great admiration” for Xi in the June edition of the taxonomy journal Zootaka. 

“This specific epithet is dedicated to Dr. Xi Jinping, the President of the People’s Republic of China, for his leadership in making our motherland stronger and stronger,” Wang wrote in the article.

His offering to the Chinese leader is a new beetle species, rhyzodiastes (temoana) xii, that lives in decaying logs in rainforests, Apple Daily reports.

But no state media picked up the story and Xi, who is not known to be a bug lover, presumably has not heard about it.

Search results for “beetle” and ” rhyzodiastes” have been blocked on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like short-message service.   

In fact, there is a long list of new species named after famous people.

US President Barack Obama has had a trapdoor spider found in California and a lizard named after him.

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie is a proud owner of naming honors, courtesy of another spider.

Wang, 32, is from Qionglai City in Sichuan province.

He graduated from Sichuan University and later from the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Wang’s new find belongs to the rhysodidae family of beetles, consisting of several hundred species in about 20 genera.

They are characterized by their reddish brown-black color and short, 11-segment antennae that resemble a string of beads.

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