4 comments April 13th, 2005at 06:29pm Posted by Eli

Courtesy of Cornell News Service, via Froomkin:

U.S. President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may not all get a library, airport or highway named after them. But each has a slime-mold beetle named in his honor.

Two former Cornell University entomologists who recently had the job of naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles named three species that are new to science in the genus Agathidium for members of the U.S. administration. They are A. bushi Miller and Wheeler, A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler.

The entomologists also named some of the new species after their wives and a former wife, Pocahontas, Hernan Cortez, the Aztecs, the fictional “Star Wars” villain Darth Vader (“who shares with A. vaderi a broad, shiny, helmetlike head”), Frances Fawcett (their scientific illustrator) and the Greek words for “ugly” and “having prominent teeth” and the Latin word for “strange.”…

The decision to name three slime-mold beetles after Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, however, didn’t have anything to do with physical features, says Quentin Wheeler, a professor of entomology and of plant biology at Cornell for 24 years until last October, but to pay homage to the U.S. leaders. “We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular,” says Wheeler….

Maybe they’re tongue-in-cheek about the homage, but the result is the same. Too perfect.

UPDATE: Makes it all the more fitting if Tom “Bugman” DeLay brings them down…

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Science


  • 1. scout prime  |  April 13th, 2005 at 10:12 pm

    If only I’d known being an entomologist could be so much fun!

  • 2. oldwhitelady  |  April 13th, 2005 at 11:40 pm

    Wonderful. That is really funny.

  • 3. sallyh  |  April 14th, 2005 at 12:31 am

    He’d best get ready to kiss his R01 byebye.

  • 4. Multi Medium » Quot&hellip  |  February 5th, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    […] From a follow-up article on the slime mold beetles named after George, Dick, and Rummy: There are only so many times one can use the species name ‘australis’ or ‘grandis’ before the thought, ‘maybe I should name this one after Joey Ramone’ goes through your head. […]

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