Beetle named after Hitler selling for EUR 1,000

17th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

17 August 2006, HAMBURG - A tiny, blind, brown beetle that hides in caves in Slovenia is changing hands for as much as 1,000 euros (1,300 dollars) because it is named after Adolf Hitler, a Munich insect collector said Thursday. The creatures were given the scientific name Anophtalmus hitleri in honour of the Nazi dictator when they were discovered in the 1930s. Collecting them has become a fad among neo-Nazis in recent years. "There has been a rush for them. Collectors are scouring the caves," said Martin

17 August 2006

HAMBURG - A tiny, blind, brown beetle that hides in caves in Slovenia is changing hands for as much as 1,000 euros (1,300 dollars) because it is named after Adolf Hitler, a Munich insect collector said Thursday.

The creatures were given the scientific name Anophtalmus hitleri in honour of the Nazi dictator when they were discovered in the 1930s. Collecting them has become a fad among neo-Nazis in recent years.

"There has been a rush for them. Collectors are scouring the caves," said Martin Baehr, the entomologist at the State Zoological Museum in Munich. "Almost all of our specimens at the museum have been stolen."

Baehr said it was unlikely the bugs would be hunted to extinction. Nazi interest in the insect goes back several years. Scientists are only slightly interested in it, as it is not too different from other cave-beetle species.

The bug was named by a German, Oscar Scheibel, the first to describe it scientifically. Some accounts say he received a letter of thanks from Hitler for the "honour". Species names, which are adapted to Latin form, can be descriptive or derived from proper names.

In some cases, a choice of name may be perceived as an insult. Agathidium bushi, a beetle that feeds on slime-mould, was named last year after US President George W Bush.

DPA

Subject: German news

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