New beetle species’ get names from pop culture

Scientists have discovered 103 beetle species in Indonesia that are new to science, and named one of them after the Star Wars character Yoda and three others after characters from French comics series The Adventures of Asterix .

The Indonesian island of Sulawesi has been long known for its enigmatic fauna, including the deer-pig and the midget buffalo, said researchers from the Natural History Museum in Germany and the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI).

However, small insects inhabiting the tropical forests have remained largely unexplored, they said in a statement.

In a study published in the journal ZooKeys , the researchers reported on finding a total of 103 new species of beetles from the genus Trigonopterus .

“Our survey is not yet complete and possibly we have just scratched the surface,” said Raden Pramesa Narakusumo, curator of beetles at the Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense (MZB), Indonesian Research Center for Biology.

A small greenish, forest-dwelling species was aptly named after the Star Wars character Yoda, while three species were named after Asterix, Obelix and Idefix.

Naturally, Trigonopterus obelix is larger and more roundish than the other two, researchers said.

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