A team of Chinese and Italian scientists have discovered a new species of beetle which they’ve named after Marco Polo, a Venetian merchant who was one of the first Europeans to visit and write about China back in the 13th century.
The beetle’s name — Hycleus marcipoli — is “a tribute to the collaboration established among the authors” of a paper that was recently published in the journal ZooKeys.
H. marcipoli is found in China, Laos, and northern Thailand. It belongs to a group of species called phaleratus, which is in the genus Hycleus.
Hycleus has not been thoroughly studied since 1872, and the genus “is in need of complete revision,” according to the researchers. In their new study, the Chinese and Italian authors describe the new species and provide a key to the known Chinese species of the phaleratus group.
“We were extremely happy to discover a new species during our studies of the Chinese species of the genus Hycleus,” said Dr. Marco A. Bologna, one of the co-authors. “We were wondering for a while how to name it until we came up with the idea to name it after Marco Polo, a historical figure which represents the beginning of collaboration between China and the West.”
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