Mario Sorrenti, and courtesy of Taxon Expeditions/Hendrik Freitag
This past August, it was announced that Leonardo DiCaprio would get meta and play the legendary Leonardo da Vinci. The role is quite an appropriate fit, as the two share much more than a name: while Da Vinci was dedicated to studying nature, including botany, fossils, and anatomy, today's Leo is pretty much known as much for his dedication to environmentalism as he is for the prolonged saga of his finally winning an Oscar.
Now, the noted Jane Goodall fanboy, who's recently even partied with the legendary primatologist, is once again upping his environmental cred and going a step further with his reinventions. In between dating a seemingly nonstop supply of 20-something models, and before playing a Hollywood has-been alongside Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino's upcoming film, DiCaprio is testing out a new identity, adding "Malaysian water beetle" to the list of official titles, along with Oscar winner and U.N. ambassador.
This interspecies rebranding wasn't originally DiCaprio's own doing; a group of Malaysian scientists decided to name a new species of water beetles that they discovered in a remote basin of the island Borneo Grouvellinus leonardodicaprioi as, according to the Daily Mail, a "tribute of the star's environmental activism, not a comparison of their looks." (His association with a money laundering scandal in the country seems to now be in the past.) Still, DiCaprio has embraced being associated to the three-millimeter insect, which the Guardian described as having slightly protruding eyes and a retractable head, with aplomb; he clearly seems to appreciate, and even identify with the bug, as evidenced by his changing his Facebook profile picture to a photo of his eponymous beetle on Tuesday.
Predictably, the change has prompted quite a response from a good portion of his 16.5 million followers; so far, the photo has garnered nearly 1,000 comments, including "Damn, you looked so much better while you were younger," and "Hummm..... It seems that you have become in the spirit of nature! You look like awesome, and environmental!" Iva Njunjic, the founder of the firm which made the discovery, chose to weigh in via The Guardian: "In this case, we didn’t name the beetle because it looks like Leonardo DiCaprio. We wanted to highlight that even the smallest creature is important, such as this tiny beetle that nobody knew about before now."
Some have also pointed out the similarities between the news of Leo's transformation and Franz Kafka's 1915 novella The Metamorphosis, which tells the story of a salesman who wakes up one morning another dreary workday, before discovering he's transformed into a giant insect, which Kafka originally described as a "monstrous vermin" in German. Hopefully, Leo does not meet the same tragic fate as Gregor Samsa. (Spoiler alert: Samsa dies.) That doesn't seem likely, though, given that his Titanic costar Kate Winslet, who actually beat Leo to the beetle-naming game, has been doing just fine—as has Beyoncé, who's previously been the namesake of a horsefly.