Stone louse

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The stone louse (Petrophaga lorioti, in German Steinlaus) is a fictitious animal created by German humorist Loriot to parody nature documentaries. It was primarily featured in a video sketch, as well as being a fictitious entry in the German medical encyclopedic dictionary Pschyrembel Klinisches Wörterbuch.


Its 1976 "discovery" by Loriot parodied the presentation style of "Ein Platz für Tiere" (A Place for Animals, longstanding TV Series about endangered wildlife) by the famous German zoologist and documentary filmmaker Dr. Bernhard Grzimek (ARD, 20.47-51).

In a factual style, the stone louse was described as a rodent-like mite in the order "Fictional Rodents", between 20 and 24 mm in length which consumes about 28 kilograms of stone per day, depending on the density and tastiness of said stone. Loriot gave some deadpan comments on a filmed Building implosion, he mentioned the "shy rodent" to be at lunch in its natural habitat (before the explosion). While the building vanished into dust and rubble he caringly spoke about the "possierliche kleine Nager" (endearing little rodents) and finalized with some points about their endangered status.

Publication in Pschyrembel

In 1983 the clinical dictionary Pschyrembel, from German scientific publisher Walter de Gruyter, contained information about the stone louse for the first time in printed form. The short article is thought to be based mainly on...
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