View Full Version : The Coolest Insect: Slovenian Cave Beetle Bears Name of Hitler [Anophthalmus Hitleri]

Sunday, March 6th, 2005, 11:42 PM

Slovenian Cave Beetle Bears Singular Name of Hitler

Laibach, Aug. 26

There are more than 100 species of cave beetles in Slovenia, and among the thousands of insects that are populating the country there is one that did not have much luck. It is a species belonging to the Anophthalmus group and is known to dwell in some 15 caves in central Slovenia. To prove the fact that destiny does have a sense of irony; the beetle takes its name after the Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler. Being an endangered insect, the Anophthalmus Hitleri is making Slovenian biologists and authorities worried for they have a hard time managing a fight against "poachers", wrote Slovenian weekly Mladina in an interview with cave fauna expert Slavko Polak.

The beetle's origins date back to 1933, when Slovenian nature scientist Vladimir Kodrič came across an unknown species of cave beetle from the Anophthalmus family in a cave near Celje in central Slovenia. In order to categorise the beetle, Kodrič turned to the collector, dealer, and German sympathiser Oskar Scheibl of Zagreb, Croatia. He gave the beetle the temporary name of Anophthalmus Kodrici, in honour of his discoverer. By the time Scheibl had ascertained that the beetle was indeed a new species never described before, Germany was celebrating its new chancellor Adolf Hitler. As Hitler's ardent admirer, School dismissed the first version of the beetle's name, labelling it Anophthalmus Hitleri. He then informed Hitler's office in Berlin about "his" finding and the name he had given it. Today, the holotype - the specimen used as the basis for the original description of a species - of the Anophthalmus Hitleri is kept in a Basel museum in Switzerland.