New beetle species named after London Pride beer

Metallactus Londonpridei, a new species of Brazilian beetle discovered within the collection of the Natural History Museum, has been named after Fuller’s flagship brew.

Image: Davide Sassi

Entomologist Davide Sassi, who discovered the new beetle in 2016, said it is “dedicated to the excellent beer which inspired some lovely evening meditations during visits to the Natural History Museum”.

Sassi, a leaf beetle specialist, spent 10 days at the London museum studying the taxonomy of its beetle collection.

He added: “It was an amazing cocktail of outstanding circumstances: my first time in London, my first time in the legendary Museum, and my first time dealing with such a breathtaking collection.

“The Museum collection contains specimens gathered by great explorers and scientists, including Darwin, Wallace, Bates and many others, and they were all sorted in a row under my microscope”.

Image: Davide Sassi

As to why he chose London Pride specifically, Sassi said examining beetles was thirsty work, prompting a trip to a pub on Gloucester Road.

“I ordered a beer, just pointing my finger towards one. It was exceptionally hot, and the air was stifling,” he said.

“I was really thirsty, and had a long sip and thought “What a tremendous beer!” I looked at the script on the glass and it said London Pride”.

And the rest, as they say, is history. The museum’s beetle collection contains between eight and 10 million specimens housed in 22,000 drawers. Researchers such as Sassi work to correct possible past misidentification or false labelling through expert examination and DNA analysis.

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