January 13, 2012
‘Bootylicious’ Beyonce Has New Species Of Fly Named After Her
An Australian fly species, found in far northern Queensland, has been given a rather unique name: Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae -- honoring American pop star Beyonce.
Bryan Lessard, of CSIRO, Australia's top science agency, named the rare horsefly after Beyonce because of its impressive golden lower abdomen. The spectacular display of the fly's golden booty makes it the "all-time diva of flies."
"It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly's abdomen that led me to name this fly in honor of the performer Beyonce as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy -- the naming of species," said Lessard.
The horsefly, first collected in 1981, the same year Beyonce was born, had never been named. So Lessard took it upon himself to do the honors.
The name complies with the rules set by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature, which allows for species to receive names honoring people, including celebrities.
In fact, this is not the first animal species to be named in honor of a celebrity. A frog species, Hyla stingi, is named after singer Sting and a spider, Pachygnatha zappa, is named after Frank Zappa.
CSIRO made attempts to contact Beyonce for a response to the naming, but has yet to hear back.
"Although often considered a pest, many species of horse fly are extremely important pollinators of many plants," said Lessard. "Horseflies act like hummingbirds during the day, drinking nectar from their favorite varieties of grevillea, tea trees and eucalypts."
"Most Australian Scaptia species have been described, however, these five 'new' species of a sub-group (Plinthina) have been housed in Australian collections since the group was last studied in the 1960's," he said.
Lessard's paper on the description and naming of this species was published in the Australian Journal of Entomology. He said this discovery has doubled the known size of the Scaptia (Plinthina) subgenus and extended the known distribution of Scaptia into the Northern Territory and north-western Australia where they were previously thought not to exist.
Almost 4400 species of horseflies have been described from all bio-geographic regions of the world.
Image Caption: Scaptia beyonceae. Credit: Bryan Lessard, CSIRO [ More Images ]
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