Name giving day

Competition>> Insects ÔÇó The UK

Published: Saturday 31 July 2010


Acompetition motivated by a solemn idea—to highlight the extinction of animals and plants in the UK—ended with touches of poetry and artistic brilliance.

In June, the British daily, The Guardian, announced a competition to name some lesser known and threatened insects, lichens and sea creatures that were till then known only by their Latin titles. It received more than 3,000 entries, transforming the Philorhizus quadrisignatus into the intriguing Mab’s lantern beetle and Peltigera venosa into the otherworldly Pixie gowns lichen.

“I’ve gone for this to Windsor, the only place in the UK where Megapenthes lugens live,” said one winner, greenhitman. He named the Megapenthes lugens the Queen’s executioner beetle. “The executioner is to represent that it kills and eats the larvae of others. It also hints at its black colour—the hood of an executioner is traditionally black.”

Natural England jointly organised the competition with the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Guardian.

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