Kosovar Biologist Calls Newly Found Insect After Coronavirus

PRISTINA, Kosovo — Kosovar biologist Halil Ibrahimi believes the pandemic restrictions haven't all been bad — as a result of them, he completed his research, raised public awareness of the pollution of river basins and named a newly discovered insect after the virus.

Ibrahimi, 44, had spent years working on a research report on a caddisfly species found in Kosovo's western Bjeshket e Nemuna (Accursed Mountains) national park. That species now bears the name Potamophylax coronavirus.

As an associate professor of the Natural Sciences Faculty at Pristina University, Ibrahimi collected the species, which turned out to be endemic to the national park, 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of the capital Pristina, and found it was quite different from the other species in the Balkans. 

It is considerably smaller, and lives in a different habitat, in open, high-altitude zones, some 2,000 meters (6,500 feet) above sea level.

He announced the new name he had chosen for the species in a scientific magazine this month.

"Coronavirus was the most vivid thing during the time when the species was discovered," he said.

During his research, Ibrahimi also noticed that the Lumbardhi i Deçanit River, where the new species was found, has severely deteriorated over recent years due to the construction of a hydropower plant.

Kosovo and the Balkan countries have a long history of environmental pollution of all kinds, from sewage water pumped directly into rivers to deforestation and mismanagement of hydropower plants.

"It has the same effect on the species living in the rivers as the coronavirus is causing to humankind these days," Ibrahimi said.

The overall environmental situation in Kosovo has worsened over recent years, with increased construction, traffic and industrial pollution, as well as the government's efforts to promote small hydropower plants as an alternative energy source.

"Uncontrolled use of water resources and damage to river beds still remains one of the forms of degradation of our water resources," according to a report on Kosovo's environment published last year.

People should "rethink their attitude toward the environment" because these insects are "the first barrier before the pollution comes to the humans," Ibrahimi said.

"They are the first indicators that something is going wrong in the environment … in order to be prepared for the pollution impacting directly on ourselves."

Now that the virus and the insect are forever linked via the name, "the institutions must undertake measures to stop this degradation to the environment, and people must start considering these insect species as part of their own life," Ibrahimi said.


CCONCHACCOTA, Peru — From her home under the baking sun of Peru's southern Andes, Vilma Huamaní can see the small Cconchaccota lagoon, the axis of her community's life.

Top Stories


A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.


Biden Hosts Macron amid Friction over US Climate Law (Video)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidents Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron are celebrating the longstanding U.

AL RAYYAN, Qatar — Memphis Depay and Daley Blind scored in the first half and Denzel Dumfries added a late goal as the Netherlands eliminated the United States from the World Cup with a 3-1 victory Saturday that advanced the Dutch to the quarterfinals.

In many Greek households, even today, mentioning the word ‘cancer’ is still taboo.

SAN FRANCISCO – Greek Chamber Music Project (GCMP) founder, director, and flutist Ellie Falaris Ganelin on December 1 announced the GCMP’s upcoming tour, titled ‘Uproot’ which features music from Asia Minor.

ASTORIA – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris joined the Museum of the Moving Image’s (MoMI) annual gala on December 1 to announce $5 million in state funding he secured to advance the Museum’s educational work in film, television, and digital media.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.