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Tiny, blind beetle named after climate ‘champion’ Greta Thunberg

WATCH: Environmental activist David Suzuki joined Greta Thunberg at a climate rally in Vancouver on Friday where he talked about the important role of science in saving the climate and about taking the fight to the courts.

While Greta Thunberg was leading climate-change protests (and drawing counter-protests) in Canada on Friday, scientists in the U.K. were bestowing a special honour upon her.

London’s Natural History Museum says it has named a tiny species of beetle after Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swede who has helped spearhead the fight against climate change in recent months.

The beetle has been named Nelloptodes gretae, in a nod to Thunberg’s first name. It belongs to the Ptiliidae family of beetles.

READ MORE: Thousands join Greta Thunberg at Vancouver climate strike

The blind, wingless creature measures less than one millimetre long. The specimen was collected with some soil and leaf samples gathered from Nairobi in the 1960s. It was donated to the Natural History Museum in 1978.

READ MORE: Satirical Greta Thunberg ‘helpline’ mocks adults ‘angry at a child’

Michael Darby told BBC he chose the name because he was “immensely impressed” with Thunberg’s activism. He added that the name is meant to “acknowledge her outstanding contribution in raising awareness of environmental issues.”

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The new species of beetle Nelloptodes gretae is shown in this photo.
The new species of beetle Nelloptodes gretae is shown in this photo. Michael Darby/Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine via AP

The museum’s senior beetle curator, Max Barclay, said the name was well-deserved because many undiscovered species of beetle are likely going extinct because of biodiversity loss.

“It is appropriate to name one of the newest discoveries after someone who has worked so hard to champion the natural world and protect vulnerable species,” he said.

Thunberg was in Vancouver on Friday to lead another of her weekly protests to demand action on climate change.

—With files from The Associated Press