New York - United States President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can now also be called bushi, cheneyi and rumsfeldi, or simply slime-mould beetles.

Two former Cornell University entomologists named three species in the genus Agathidium after the US leaders, Cornell announced on Wednesday.

Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller christened 65 new species of slime-mould beetles, named for the fungi-like mould on which they feed, which they discovered after collecting thousands of specimens for a study of their evolution and classification.

Wheeler, who after 24 years as a professor of entomology and plant biology at Cornell is now the keeper and head of entomology at the Natural History Museum in London, said the US leaders were being honoured for having "the courage of their convictions".

The bushi beetle is found in southern Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia; the rumsfeldi is from Oaxaca and Hidalgo in Mexico, and the cheneyi is known from Chiapas, Mexico, Wheeler said.