This Dark and Hairy Beetle Was Named After Ateneo's Past President

Such an honor. 

It’s not every day you get a new animal species named after you. But for Fr. Jett Villarin, who is Ateneo’s immediate past university president and current executive director of the Manila Observatory, it was his lucky day. 

A dark and hairy beetle, one of two new species discovered in Negros Island, was named after the Jesuit priest. The Jett Villarin Beetle or Byrrhinus villarini was described in the open-source scientific journal ZooKeys by Emmanuel D. Delocado and Hendrik Freitag of the Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory. 

The Ateneo Biodiversity Research Laboratory is one of only four in the world that are researching taxonomy and systematics of the beetle family Limnichidae, a family of tiny beetles that thrive in swamps. Byrrhinus belongs to this group.

According to a statement published by the Ateneo de Manila University, “the discovery was remarkable because the two species were the first additional new species of Philippine Byrrhinus in the last 28 years,” it wrote. 

Why was the beetle named after Fr. Jett Villarin?

Fr. Jett Villarin is one of the country’s most prominent advocates of the environment. According to Ateneo, Delocado and Freitag decided to name the new species after Fr. Villarin “in recognition of his strong push for the environmental research agenda in the University during his nine-year tenure.”

A scientist himself, Fr. Villarin was part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose work was so critical and groundbreaking it received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.” The Nobel Peace Prize 2007 was awarded jointly to IPCC and American politician Al Gore.


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Mario Alvaro Limos
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