Friday Fellow: Hitler’s Beetle

by Piter Kehoma Boll

There are so many beetles in this world that they are the most frequent Friday Fellows. There are also so many of them that even Adolf Hitler has one for himself and this poor animal is going to be presented here today. Its name is Anophthalmus hitleri, the Hitler’s beetle.

This poor fellow was named in 1937 when Hitler had just become Chancellor of Germany. Despite the bad taste, there are no rules in zoological nomenclature that would allow this name to be changed just because the homage was to one of the most atrocious humans in history.

The Hitler's beetle is dull and boring and to make its life worse, it was named in honor of Hitler. Photo by Michael Munich.

The Hitler’s beetle is dull and boring and, to make its life worse, it was named in honor of Hitler. Photo by Michael Munich*.

Now what else can we say about this doomed insect? Not much, I’m afraid. It is found in the cave systems of Slovenia and is considered a troglobiont, i.e., a species fully adapted to live underground. As with most such species, the Hitler’s beetle is eyeless, as vision is useless in the permanent darkness of caves. Little, if nothing, is known about its ecology. It is a carabid beetle, so it probably feeds on other invertebrates, hunting them.

Spending its whole life inside a cave, the Hitler’s beetle is not colorful and has no extravagant structures, but its lame name made it famous. At least the poor animal will never know.

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References:

Novak, T.; Perc, M.; Lipovšek, S.; Janžekovič, F. 2012. Duality of terrestrial subterranean fauna. International Journal of Speleology, 41(2): 181–188.

Wikipedia. Anophthalmus hitleri. Available at: < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anophthalmus_hitleri >. Access on June 17, 2016.

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*Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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Filed under Entomology, Friday Fellow, taxonomy

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