JNS quoted B’nai B’rith International CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin in its coverage of an insect recently named for Hitler. “His name should not be leant to anything,” Mariaschin said.
Connections between the Nazis and Volkswagen Beetles are well known. But an insect that looks like Adolf Hitler bearing his name? That’s like letting the bed bugs bite.
An insect endemic to Southeast Asia and India, with the scientific name catacanthus incarnatus, is being called a “Hitler bug” for a feature on its back that resembles the dictator’s face, per recent reporting by New Indian Express. (Evidently, the nickname stuck to the bugs as far back as 2011, with a Daily Mail story in 2014.)
The bug was previously called the “man-faced stink bug,” due to its notorious smell. It also is widely regarded as a pest for eating fruit and crops.
The man-face has been given a name, and it’s the most notorious one imaginable.
“I can’t think of any defensible reason to name an insect or any other organism after a reprehensible dictator,” David Skelly, director of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and Yale School of the Environment professor of ecology, told JNS.
“Animals—of any kind—are neither good nor bad. Loading a species with this name is not something I would ever support,” added Skelly. “It shows a lack of respect for biodiversity science and especially for the millions of people killed by Hitler.”
Daniel S. Mariaschin, CEO of B’nai B’rith International, agreed.
“Naming an insect after Hitler is not funny or clever. It’s disgraceful and appalling,” he said. “It makes light of Hitler’s efforts to wipe out the Jewish population of Europe. Hitler murdered six million Jews and millions of others. His name should not be leant to anything.”