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Namesakes of the U.S. President and two of his key people might be crawling around your back yard as you read this.
Three new beetles of the genus Agathidium have been named after members of the current administration: A. bushi, A. cheneyi and A. rumsfeldi.
Two former Cornell University entomologists, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller, were in charge of naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles, which they discovered while studying the insects’ evolution and classification.
Wheeler, who is now head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London, said that the choice to name beetles after President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was out of admiration for their principles, not because they look like the beetles.
None of these beetles make their home inside the Beltway.
Wheeler said Agathidium bushi has been found in southern Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia; Agathidium cheneyi inhabits Chiapas, Mexico; and Agathidium rumsfeldi is known from Oaxaca and Hidalgo in Mexico.
The slime-mold beetles are so-called because they feed on fungi-like molds.