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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 April 2005, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Beetle boost for Bush and friends
Dick Cheney, George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld
The beetles bear no physical resemblance to their namesakes
Two US scientists have paid tribute to their favourite politicians by naming three species of beetle after them.

President George Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were all honoured.

One of the entomologists said he admired all three men for "having the courage of their convictions" and standing up for freedom and democracy.

The three beetles who now bear their names are among 65 newly discovered species which feed on mould.

The scientists, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller, discovered the insects after collecting thousands of specimens for study and classification, according to a press release from Cornell University where Mr Wheeler used to work.

'Prominent teeth'

They named them Agathidium bushi, Agathidium cheneyi and Agathidium rumsfeldi.

Others were named after the scientists' wives, the Star Wars villain Darth Vader and the Greek words for "ugly" and "having prominent teeth".

But Mr Wheeler, who is now head of entomology at London's Natural History Museum, said the decision to name three beetles after politicians had nothing to do with physical features.

"One has to be creative with names," he told the BBC news website.

"We are two of the only politically conservative scientists around, and we decided to stick our necks out."

The bushi can be found in the US states of North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia, while the cheneyi and rumsfeldi are from Mexico.

At least two former US presidents have species named after them, the Washington Times newspaper reports.

A deer, an elk and a lion are named after Theodore Roosevelt, while Abraham Lincoln has a wasp and a rose in his name.

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