Stone louse

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Stone louse
Stone louse (Petrophaga lorioti) ♀ after mating

Stone louse ( Petrophaga lorioti ) ♀ after mating

Order : Insects (Insecta)
Superfamily :
Family : Stein eater (Petro Idea)
Subfamily : Stone lice (Petrovora)
Genre : Petrophaga
Type : Stone louse
Scientific name
Petrophaga lorioti
von Bülow , 1976
Damage to the stone louse

The stone louse ( Petrophaga lorioti ; literal translation from ancient Greek or Latin: Loriot's stone eater) is a fictional rodent drawn by Loriot , which Loriot found on October 18, 1976 in his sketch The stone louse (Prof. Grzimek) as part of the second episode of TV show Loriot presented. Loriot himself appears in a parody by the zoologist and television presenter Bernhard Grzimek .

In 1983 the medical dictionary Pschyrembel included the stone louse as a fictitious lexicon article (Nihilartikel) in the reference work, which was expanded and supplemented several times in various new editions. This in turn led to further articles and statements in various scientific and popular scientific publications and statements. Since then, the stone louse has been a well-known example of scientific joke .

The stone louse at Loriot

In a parody of the series Ein Platz für Tiere , broadcast on ARD in 1976 , Loriot - in the role of Bernhard Grzimek - describes the stone louse as a shy rodent that feeds on silicates , i.e. stones. Occasionally an iron girder would not be scorned. The sexually mature male has a daily requirement of around 28 kilograms of concrete and bricks, while the female consumes almost double that amount during pregnancy. The "cute little guy" is threatened with extinction, but during scientific excavations in the ground, individual animals have been found at a depth of more than 20 meters and taken to zoological gardens. At the beginning of the skit, Loriot informs the audience that he has brought a stone louse with him, which is based on Grzimek's television show, which usually presented an animal he had brought with him when he began his moderation. Loriot had a few stones in front of him on the table, of which after a few minutes only a few fragments are left after a movie - in which collapsing buildings, including skyscrapers and even a church, allegedly caused by stone lice, are shown The stone louse that I brought with me has now "satisfied her worst hunger".

In addition to the original television sketch, the stone louse is also mentioned in Loriot's printed publications.


The stone louse in the Pschyrembel

In 1983 the renowned medical dictionary Pschyrembel from the Berlin science publisher Walter de Gruyter , a standard reference work in his field, listed stone lice for the first time in its 255th edition. The nihil article seems to prove Loriot's "findings". In addition, the encyclopedia on bogus research that the value of the stone louse in the treatment of information gall , bladder and kidney stones would have recognized, and the subspecies Gallensteinlaus and Nierensteinlaus be mentioned. In the 257th edition of the Pschyrembel, the entry about the stone louse was deleted again. Due to unexpectedly violent reader protests, the stone louse was included in the following edition of 1997 in an expanded form. The process is described in detail in Thorsten Roelcke's technical language , among others .

In the revised version of the Pschyrembel, the “latest findings” were included that connect the temporary disappearance of stone lice with the fall of the Berlin Wall as a source of food.

In the 260th edition of the Pschyrembel, further "recent research results" on stone lice were recorded, for example its application in homeopathy . In the 261st edition published on September 24, 2007, the article on stone louse was again expanded. For example, under “other applications” it is stated that the conditions for a fine dust sticker could be met through the use of specialized stone lice in combination with filters.

In the 1st edition of the "Pschyrembel Psychiatrie, Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy" from 2009, a scientific classification and reassessment of stone lice phobia is carried out. This phobic disorder manifests itself in an unfounded and persistent fear of stone lice, stone louse pictures and corresponding texts. As a rule, stone louse phobia is coupled with an excessive desire and urge to avoid the cause of fear.

The stone louse in the textbook deposit theory by W. & WE Petrascheck

( An introduction to the science of mineral mineral resources , 4th edition from 1992, ISBN 3-510-65150-2 ) In Chapter II: Formation of deposits through weathering , the common stone louse is also briefly mentioned on page 60 , with reference to the Pschyrembel 1986; Fig. 34 is referenced. A small drawing of the stone louse also illustrates the fictional animal.

Fool's stone cutting at Bosch

The stone louse in the encyclopedia history of medicine

An entry by the Swiss medical historian Iris Ritzmann in the Encyclopedia Medical History claims a predecessor species, the stone eater or lithophagus. This is already mentioned in the Lemma Wolverine in Zedler's Universal Lexicon and played a role in medieval trepanations . Ritzmann claims that the stone-eaters, to which today's stone lice mutatively went back, were exterminated by homeopathic applications in the 19th century, namely with the help of Lapis infernalis C 30 .


Stone louse enclosure in Dortmund Zoo

The stone louse is repeatedly referred to in the news media. Naturally, reference is made to the stone louse in humorous and satirical publications.

  • The Zoo Dortmund has established a reserve for Steinlaus. On the display board set up there, however, a spelling mistake crept into the nomenclature (biology) , namely Pterophaga , which would mean "wing eater ", instead of Petrophaga (= stone eater).
  • In the Pforzheim Wildlife Park , animal sponsorship is being sought for the stone louse.
  • It is described in the animal guide Translunariums as an insect that has a life expectancy of two to three years.
  • In a leaflet on stone lice infestation, the City of Zurich advises citizens on stone lice problems.
  • The name Steinlaus is mentioned in a publication of the German Bundestag about the fictional politician Jakob Maria Mierscheid , in which he is said to have participated in a "Steinlaus Symposium".
  • The Camburg City Museum has a brick with stone lice infestation as a digitized object in various museum object databases.
Naked mole rat
  • An article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung pointed out the striking similarity between the stone louse and the naked mole rat ( Heterocephalus glaber ).
  • The volume North Rhine-Westphalia II in the 2011 Handbook of German Art Monuments by Dehio refers to the destruction of high-quality Dortmund post-war architecture as a result of stone lice infestation.
  • The Humboldt Foundation mentions an article called Stone louse in pleistocene in its sample documents for scientific publication lists .

Popular science

  • The Oldenburg microbiologist Wolfgang E. Krumbein deals with mites , whose way of life decomposes minerals. In popular scientific lectures and publications he refers to the stone louse.
  • Bernd Ullrich from the Professorship for Applied Geology at the TU Dresden “discovered” the recent stone louse in the weathering of a sandstone masonry. Due to its morphology, which is more similar to the mites, the stone meal- eating animal was given the name Anoplura lithoklasia loriotensis . In 2009 he reported on the discovery of the Kugelstein louse, which he found to be the cause of caries on teeth. He spices up his communications with interesting electron microscope images that illustrate the interpretation. In April 2013, the official bulletin for dentists in North Rhine-Westphalia announced the discovery of the Kugelstein louse.
  • The Hessian Ministry of Culture uses the stone louse in its operator list for the state high school diploma in 2012 to explain what is meant by "investigating" in the subject of biology: "Investigate which biotic and abiotic factors determine the ecological niche of the stone louse."
  • In his book Trace Fossil Analysis on p. 89, the paleontologist Adolf Seilacher identifies Petrophaga lorioti as the cause of the Cretaceous trace fossil Helminthoida labyrinthica . This is likely to be the first scientific evidence that Petrophaga lorioti is a living fossil .
  • In Australia, the drop bear is of similar importance.

Fraud and Counterfeiting in Science

To protect against fraud and forgery in science and in other areas, stone lice and suitable synonyms are occasionally released in plagiarism traps.

Web links

Commons : Pterophaga lorioti  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Steinlaus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Max Wellinghaus: Small anecdotes from the life of a great humorist
  2. television. Loriot II (Loriot's telescopic sketches). In: Retrieved May 3, 2012 (Loriot official website).
  3. movie mag: Loriot: Die Steinlaus on YouTube , February 16, 2018, accessed on June 29, 2019.
  4. Loriot: Pugs & People . Diogenes Verlag, Zurich 1983, ISBN 978-3-257-01653-6 .
  5. a b Thorsten Roelcke: Technical languages . E. Schmidt, 2005, ISBN 978-3-503-07938-4 , pp. 211–213 ( - detailed description of the process in Chapter 11. Happy Scientific Language).
  6. ^ Paul Anthony Jones: Haggard Hawks and Paltry Poltroons: The Origins of English in Ten Words . Little, Brown Book Group, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4721-0941-5 ( ).
  7. a b stone louse. In: Pschyrembel Clinical Dictionary. Founded by Willibald Pschyrembel. Edited by the publisher's dictionary editor under the direction of Helmut Hildebrandt. 261st edition. De Gruyter, Berlin / New York 2007, ISBN 978-3-11-018534-8 , p. 1826.
  8. Pschyrembel Psychiatry, Clinical Psychology, Psychotherapy. De Gruyter, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-11-018888-2 .
  9. a b Werner E. Gerabek : Encyclopedia of Medical History . Walter de Gruyter, 2005, ISBN 978-3-11-015714-7 , p. 1358 ( limited preview in the Google book search [accessed December 21, 2015] entry Steinfresser by Iris Ritzmann).
  10. Stone louse. In: vocabulary. Uni Leipzig, accessed on March 29, 2020 .
  11. Ludwig Krögel: The FSVO animal guide translunariums . BLV Buchverlag, Munich 2009, ISBN 978-3-8354-0320-8 .
  12. Information sheet from the City of Zurich on stone lice infestation ( Memento from January 1, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 96 kB)
  13. Biography of Jakob Maria Mierscheid at the German Bundestag
  14. Brick with stone lice infestation, object description: brick
  15. Loriot's stone louse discovered . Southgerman newspaper
  16. ^ Georg Dehio: Handbook of German Art Monuments, North Rhine-Westphalia II (Westphalia). Berlin / Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-422-03314-2 , p. 250.
  17. - Sample - Complete list of publications by Bert Myer. (PDF) Humboldt Foundation, accessed on January 28, 2019 .
  18. ^ The Wiener Zeitung reports under the title Vom Fernsehstar zum Biofilm ( Memento from November 2, 2005 in the Internet Archive ) on Krumbein's investigations at St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna
  19. ^ Announcement of a lecture by Krumbein at an event of the Senckenberg Museum
  20. Harald Zaun: From TV star to biofilm: Loriot's stone louse actually exists - at least that's what a German microbiologist claims. Telepolis , December 25, 2001; about Krumbein's work; Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  21. Bernd Ullrich: Sensational discovery - stone louse finally found. TU Dresden 2007, accessed on October 6, 2013.
  22. Bernd Ullrich: The ball stone louse (Anoplura lithoklasia loriotensis sphaeromorpha) - a new stone louse species , TU Dresden July 1, 2009, accessed on October 6, 2013.
  23. Johannes Szafraniak, Ralf Wagner (ed.): From the discovery of the Kugelsteinlaus ( Memento from October 12, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). In: Rheinisches Zahnärzteblatt , Düsseldorf, April 2013, 56, p. 203; Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  24. ^ Trace fossil analysis. Springer, Berlin a. a. 2007, ISBN 978-3-540-47225-4 .
  25. Joscha Remus: Instructions for use for Australia . Piper ebooks, 2014, ISBN 978-3-492-96769-3 ( [accessed December 21, 2015]).