Anophthalmus hitleri

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Anophthalmus hitleri
Anophthalmus hitleri HabitusDors.jpg
Anophthalmus hitleri
Conservation status
Not evaluated (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Carabidae
Subfamily: Trechinae
Genus: Anophthalmus
Species: A. hitleri
Binomial name
Anophthalmus hitleri
Scheibel, 1937

Anophthalmus hitleri (Slovene: Hitlerjev brezokec) is a species of blind cave beetle found only in five humid caves in Slovenia. The blind cave beetle shares its genus with 41 other species and 95 different subspecies.[1] Members of its subfamily (Trechinae) are, like most Carabidae, predatory, so the adults and larvae of A. hitleri are presumed to be predators on smaller cave inhabitants.

Name[edit]

The scientific name of the beetle comes from a German collector, Oscar Scheibel, who was sold a specimen of a then undocumented species in 1933. Its species name was made a dedication to Adolf Hitler, who had recently become Chancellor of Germany. The genus name means eyeless, so the full name can be translated as "the eyeless one of Hitler". The dedication did not go unnoticed by the Führer, who sent Scheibel a letter showing his gratitude.[1] Despite its inappropriateness, it is of taxonomic tradition not to change the binomial name of an organism, with exceptions for religious names, which are not to be made in the first place.[1]

The species exhibits no notable characteristics, such as extravagant colors or antennae, and is poached by collectors of Hitler memorabilia and beetle collectors purely as a result of its name.[2]

In popular culture[edit]

A fictionalized version of A. hitleri (living in Poland and bearing a swastika-shaped mark on its elytra) is a key plot device in Ned Beauman's novel Boxer, Beetle. Scheibel served as inspiration for Beauman's protagonist Philip Erskine.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Being a beetle is probably not easy. Even less so, when you're named after Adolf Hitler, accessed on June 11, 2006
  2. ^ Entomologische Blätter 33: 438