A new species of water beetle, discovered by scientists in Borneo, has been named after the Oscar-winning star of The Revenant. With its partially retractable head and slightly protruding eyes, Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi was not named for its resemblance to the 43-year-old actor and environmentalist but because the scientists “wanted to highlight that even the smallest creature is important”.
“It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer,” said Australian scientist Bryan Lessard upon the naming of Scaptia beyonceae, a rare species of horse fly found in Queensland. Australia’s science agency CSIRO contacted Beyoncé but, unsurprisingly, never heard back.
The Monty Python actor, on the other hand, was thrilled to have a woolly lemur named after him by a team of scientists from Zurich University in 2005. “I’m absurdly fond of the little creatures,” said Cleese, who made a documentary about lemurs in Madagascar in 1998, and now lives on there in name at least in the Bemaraha woolly lemur (Avahi cleesei).
A dozen species have been named after the 44th US president, including a species of lichen, two spiders, a Cuban bee, an extinct lizard and – most picturesque of all – a coral reef fish that goes by the name Tosanoides obama and can be found swimming around the Papahānaumokuākea marine national monument in Obama’s native Hawaii.
DiCaprio’s co-star in Titanic has also had a beetle named after her, though some 11,000 miles of ocean divides the two species. Agra katewinsletae was discovered in Costa Rica by entomologist Terry Erwin, who explained: “Her character did not go down with the ship, but we will not be able to say the same for this elegant canopy species if all the rainforest is converted to pastures.”