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3 New Species Named After Game of Thrones

Professor has been naming beetles for 50 years
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 31, 2018 12:30 AM CST
This photo provided by entomologist Brett Ratcliffe in December 2018 shows him in Chanchamayo, Peru.   (Mary Liz Jameson via AP)
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(Newser) – A Nebraska entomologist has named three of his eight newest beetle discoveries after the dragons from the HBO series Game of Thrones and the George RR Martin book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the AP reports. University of Nebraska-Lincoln professor Brett Ratcliffe named the new scarab beetle species drogoni, rhaegali, and viserioni, the Omaha World-Herald reports. The names are Latinized versions of Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion, three dragons owned by Daenerys Targaryen's character in the fictional work. Drogoni and viserioni can be found in Colombia and Ecuador, while rhaegali is in French Guiana. All three have orange features.

Radcliffe said he's a fan of the series, but ultimately chose the names to draw attention to biodiversity and the amount of undiscovered species. "When you create names like these, you do it to gain a little bit of notoriety and bring public attention to it," Ratcliffe said. "We're still discovering life on Earth. One of every four living things on Earth is a beetle. We haven't discovered them all. We're not even close." Ratcliffe said he's named hundreds of species over his 50-year career and creating new names becomes difficult. Naming rules recommend against using humor or insults, and are particularly useful to avoid having duplicate names, he said. Ratcliffe said he went with the pop culture reference to have a little bit of fun. (A company paid $25,000 to name a new species after President Trump.)

(Read more Game of Thrones stories.)

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