Newly discovered beetle species named after astronaut, Leonardo Dicaprio


This video says about itself:

BREAKING! Leonardo DiCaprio awarded an impressive insect honor

1 May 2018

Meet Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Bornean riffe beetle now known as Grouvellinus andrekuipersi

There was already a tulip named after him and a planetoid, but since today astronaut André Kuipers is also the proud name giver of a new beetle species; the Grouvellinus andrekuipersi.

The beetle was discovered during an expedition in Borneo, organized by biologist Menno Schilthuizen. During the same expedition another beetle was found, named after the American actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Vulnerable

De Groot wrote a competition for an original name for the beetle and biology student Auke-Florian Hiemstra suggested naming the insect after André Kuipers because of his great commitment to the environment.

“As an astronaut, Kuipers saw the earth from space and experienced the “Overview Effect“. He suddenly saw how vulnerable the earth is and realized that we should be careful with our planet.”

Kuipers received the scientific publication in Zookeys from Hiemstra, in which the beetle is described with its new name.

Riffe beetle

The Grouvellinus andrekuipersi is a real riffe beetle. It was found in an area in Borneo with a lot of clean and fresh water. The beetles live on pieces of wood in streams and mainly eat the bacteria that grow on the wood. The Grouvellinus andrekuipersi probably only occurs in Borneo.

It is not the first time that animals and insects are named after celebrities. A [pistol] shrimp with bright pink scissors and a good sense of drumming was named after the British rock band Pink Floyd and a fly with heavy arms after Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Donald Trump was also named after an animal species. The moth Neopalpa donaldtrumpi has a yellow-orange ‘haircut’ that is very similar to that of the American president.

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Elephants in Borneo, why?


This video says about itself:

Saving the Borneo Elephant (full documentary) HD

The Bornean Elephant is a subspecies of the Asian Elephant, physically and behaviourally different from the elephants of mainland Asia. Known locally and commonly as ‘Bornean Pygmy elephants’, they are about a fifth smaller than mainland Indian elephants but similar in size to populations of Sumatra and the Malaysian Peninsula. They are generally more rotund in appearance with shorter trunks and a smaller rounder face, which makes their ears appear larger. They also have a long tail, which in some individuals reaches all the way down to the ground . Only some males display tusks, which are shorter and straighter than in the mainland elephants.

From the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciencia:

New light on the mysterious origin of Bornean elephants

January 17, 2018

How did Borneo get its elephant? This could be just another of Rudyard Kipling’s just so stories. The Bornean elephant is a subspecies of Asian Elephants that only exist in a small region of Borneo. Their presence on this southeastern Asian island has been a mystery. Now, in a study published in Scientific Reports, a research team led by Lounès Chikhi from Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC, Portugal) and CNRS, Université Paul Sabatier (France), and Benoit Goossens, from Cardiff University (Wales), and Sabah Wildlife Department (Malaysia), found that elephants might have arrived on Borneo at a time of the last land bridge between the Sunda Islands in Southeast Asia.

Until recently, two opposing theories have been under debate to explain the origin of Bornean elephants: they could have been recently introduced by humans, maybe 300 years ago, or they could have diverged from Asian elephants a long time ago. Indeed, there are historic records reporting that, in the 17th century, neighbour Sultans offered elephants as gifts to the Bornean Sultan. Current elephants would thus be non-native elephants that turned feral. On the other hand, about 15 years ago a genetic study showed that the DNA of Bornean elephants was very different from that of other Asian elephants, suggesting a very ancient separation, on the order of 300,000 years ago. However, no elephant fossils have yet been discovered in Borneo, even though fossils from other large mammals such as orang-utans have been found.

To shed light on the mystery of Bornean elephant’s origin, Chikhi and Goossens’ team used genetic data analysis and computational modelling to study the past demographic history of these animals. It is very difficult to track ancient demographic history of animals, even more when there are no fossil records to guide the work. “What we did was to create computational models for different scenarios that might have happened. Then, we compared the results from these models with the existing genetic data, and used statistical techniques to identify the scenario that best explained the current genetic diversity of the elephant population in Borneo”, explains Lounès Chikhi.

“Our results suggest that the most likely scenario to have occurred is a natural colonization of Borneo around 11,400 to 18,300 years ago. This period corresponds to a time when the sea levels were very low and elephants could migrate between the Sunda Islands, a Southeastern Asia archipelago to which Borneo belongs. We cannot exclude more complex scenarios, but a historical human introduction seems very improbable, and so does a very ancient arrival”, adds Reeta Sharma, researcher at the IGC and first co-author of the paper.

With less than 2000 individuals surviving today in an increasingly fragmented environment, and with regular news of poisoned or killed Bornean elephants, the future is grim for this endangered species. “Its very limited geographic distribution and reduced genetic diversity compromise the future of the population. Understanding their origins and past demography will be useful for the development of a long-term conservation strategy, especially at the time we, Sabah Wildlife Department, and partners are drafting a new 10-year State Action Plan for the Bornean elephant”, said Goossens. The researcher notes “in the light of the recent killings of elephants in the state for ivory trade and during conflicts, Sabahans must realise that it is their natural patrimony that is targeted, they need to stand for their wildlife and condemn those who kill those magnificent creatures. We should take pride of our wildlife, elephants are part of Sabah’s patrimony and we cannot afford losing more animals.”

New beetles discovered in Borneo


This video says about itself:

A documentary exploring the diversity and conservation of one of the world’s last remaining true wildernesses, Maliau Basin in Borneo. Filmed Jan – March 2016 by Matt Jarvis.

Recently, there was an expedition by Naturalis museum in the Netherlands to the Maliau Basin in Sarawak in Malaysia, on Borneo island. They discovered five beetle species, new for science.

Probably, they discovered many more species new for science. However, the scientists in the expedition were specialists of some beetle families and did not know everything on other beetles and animals. So, further research on what they found may discover much more.

An extensive web site, in Dutch, about the expedition is here.

Captive orangutan freed


This video from Borneo says about itself:

Orangutan Kept In Small Box For Weeks Is FINALLY Free

15 October 2017

Orangutan Kept In Box For Days Is SO HAPPY To Be Free | This orangutan was kept in a crate for two weeks, just because she got too close to someone’s land. To sponsor the ongoing care of Isin the rescued orangutan, you can support International Animal Rescue.

Blonde rescued orangutan named Alba


This video from Borneo in Indonesia says about itself:

Meet Alba, the Albino Orangutan

15 May 2017

Following a global campaign to help us find a special name for the 5-year old albino orangutan, BOS Foundation is delighted to announce that this little girl is named Alba, which means ‘white’ in Latin and ‘dawn’ in Spanish. Hopefully a new dawn will come for these precious animals. The name Alba was selected from thousands of suggestions sent from around the world at name@orangutan.or.id or on social media quoting the hashtag #albinoorangutan.

A veterinarian says that in the ten days since Alba was saved from her captors, being very thin then, has already added 4.5 kilos to her weight.

Blonde orangutan girl saved, name her


This video from Borneo in Indonesia says about itself:

2 May 2017

Activists rescued a rare albino orangutan that was being held captive.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Name searched for blonde blue-eyed orangutan

Today, 12:38

She is blonde, has blue eyes and is still anonymous. Last month a dehydrated and malnourished albino orangutan was found in central Borneo. Conservationists invite people to submit suggestions for a name.

The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation hopes that the ape will become a symbol of endangered animals worldwide. The orangutan was saved from a cage in the Indonesian part of Borneo. …

Veterinarian Arga Sawung Kusuma cares for the orangutan. “She looked thinner when we found her,” he told AP. “She was stressed and collapsed. Her skin and fur did not look well and she suffered from dehydration.”

Also, the animal did not weigh enough for her age. “She looked thinner when we found her, she weighed 8.3 kilos. For a five-year-old female orangutan, that’s really very little.”

The name orangutan comes from the Malayan [orang] hutan which means forest human. The animals are genetically identical to humans for 96.4 percent.

Suggestions for a name can be submitted to 14 May to name@orangutan.org.id or via the hashtag #albinoorangutan on social media. The organization hopes that people will send “meaningful” names.

When the blonde orangutan will be healthy again, she will be freed in the wild.

See also here. And here.