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Beetles Named for Politicians

Newswise - President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney andSecretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld may not all get alibrary, airport or highway named after them. But each hashad a slime-mold beetle named in his honor.

Slime mold is an interesting collection of fungi. At certaintimes of the year, individual spores fuse together to form apuffball mushroom the size of a basketball, upon whichslime-mold beetles feed. When it matures, the puffballsplits apart, releasing millions of spores into the air in acloud of black dust. The number of spores in a singleslime-mold puffball is astronomical. It has been estimatedthat a single slime-mold could potentially produce enoughspores in just two generations to produce enough puffballsto equal a volume seven times the size of the Earth. Themovie "The Blob" was probably inspired by slime-mold.

Two entomologists, Quentin Wheeler and Kelly B. Miller,recently were given the job of naming 65 new species ofslime-mold beetles. All the names must contain the genus,which is Agathidium. They named some of them A. bushi Millerand Wheeler, A. cheneyi Miller and Wheeler and A. rumsfeldiMiller and Wheeler.

They also named some of the new species after their ex-wivesand the "Star Wars" villain Darth Vader. For anyone whowants to hunt down one of the newly named slime-moldbeetles, Wheeler says that Agathidium bushi can be found insouthern Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia; Agathidiumrumsfeldi can be found in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Agathidiumcheneyi in Chiapas, Mexico.

Who's really running our country??it's not slime moldbeetles, it's asecretgovernment! Listen to Jim Marrs this weekend, when he opensour Dreamlandshow with his take on those strange,anthrax-likeflu shipments. He'll be the guest host of Dreamland on May21st, so stay tuned!Subscribe tounknowncountry today?and you?ll receive a coupon for a FREEcopy of TheCommunion Letters, a $17.95 value!

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