Slime-mold beetles named for Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld

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Thursday, April 14, 2005

While naming 65 new species of slime-mold beetles, entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller named three after U.S. President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Of the genus Agathidium, they are bushi, cheneyi and rumsfeldi.

Wheeler, keeper and head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London, intended the names to be an honor: "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."

Miller is a post-doctoral fellow at Brigham Young University.

A. bushi Miller and Wheeler inhabits southern Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler lives in Chiapas, Mexico. A. rumsfeldi Miller and Wheeler is from Oaxaca and Hidalgo in Mexico.

Other inspirations for names include their illustrator Frances Fawcett, their wives, geographic areas, Latin and Greek words, the Aztecs, Pocahontas, and Darth Vader.

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