Sun, Aug 27, 2006 - Page 14 News List

Hitler beetle sparks a new fad 希特勒甲蟲帶動新流行

The so-called itler beetle?under an electron microscope in Germany.被稱為「希特勒」的甲蟲在德國一處電子顯微鏡下的模樣。

PHOTO: EPA

A tiny, blind, brown beetle that hides in the caves of Slovenia is changing hands for as much as 1,000 euros (NT$42,000) because it is named after Adolf Hitler, an insect collector in Munich has said.

The creatures were given the scientific name Anophtalmus hitleri in honor of the Nazi dictator when they were discovered in the 1930s.

Collecting them has become a fad among neo-Nazis in recent years.

“There has been a rush for them. Collectors are scouring the caves,” said Martin Baehr, the entomologist at the State Zoological Museum in Munich. “Almost all of our specimens at the museum have been stolen.”

Baehr said it was unlikely the bugs would be hunted to extinction.

Nazi interest in the insect goes back several years. Scientists are only slightly interested in it, as it is not too different from other cave-beetle species.

The bug was named by a German, Oscar Scheibel, the first to describe it scientifically. Some accounts say he received a letter of thanks from Hitler for the “honor.” Species names, which are adapted to Latin form, can be descriptive or are taken from proper names.

In some cases, having a beetle named after you may be taken as an insult.

Agathidium bushi, a beetle that feeds on slime-mold, was named last year after US President George W. Bush.(DPA)

慕尼黑一名昆蟲收藏家表示,一種隱身於斯洛伐尼亞洞窟中的棕色小盲蟲因為名叫希特勒,將以一千歐元(新台幣四萬兩千元)的高價轉手易主。

為了向這位納粹獨裁者致敬,一九三0年代發現的這種甲蟲學名便叫作Anophtalmus hitleri。

近年來,收藏這種甲蟲已在新納粹份子間蔚為風潮。

慕尼黑國家動物博物館的昆蟲學家馬丁?柏厄爾說:「市場上已出現搶購熱潮,收藏家們正在洞窟中四處搜尋他們的蹤跡。館內收藏的標本幾乎全數遭竊。」

柏厄爾表示,這種甲蟲不至於因人類大量捕捉而滅種。

納粹份子幾年前開始對這種昆蟲感興趣;科學家對牠卻沒什麼興趣,因為牠和其他洞窟甲蟲沒太大不同。

為這種甲蟲命名的是德國人奧斯卡?薛伯,他也是第一個從科學角度來描述牠的人。有些報導指出,他曾收到希特勒答謝這項「榮譽」的感謝信。改譯成拉丁文的學名可以是描述性名詞,也可以取自專有名詞。

TODAY'S WORDS 今日單字

1. creature n.

生物 (shen1 wu4) ,動物 (dong4 wu4)

例: A platypus is a very unusual creature.

(鴨嘴獸是一種極稀有的動物。)

2. scour v.t.

四處搜尋 (si4 chu4 sou1 xun2)

例: When Holly lost her puppy, she scoured the neighborhood until she found it.

(荷莉弄丟了小狗,在找到牠之前,她一直在附近四處尋找。)

3. specimen n.

標本 (biao1 ben3),樣本 (yang4 ben3)

例: The researchers took specimens of the soil back to their lab.

(研究人員採了些土壤樣本回實驗室。)

4. adapt v.i./v.t.

改寫 (gai2 xie3) ,改編 (gai3 bian1)

例: A lot of English words have been adapted into Chinese.

(許多英文字已譯寫成中文。)


在某些例子中,名字被拿來為甲蟲命名可能被視為一種羞辱。

去年美國總統布希的名字才被拿來為一種以黏菌為食的甲蟲Agathidium bushi命名。

(德通社/翻譯:林倩如)

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