The all-time diva of flies

Meet Scaptia beyonceae, a "bootylicious" horse fly that drinks nectar from grevillea, tea trees and eucalyptus. Image: CSIRO.

Taxonomy immortalises Beyonce.

Horse flies are sophisticated pollinators recognised for their medical and veterinary importance. And although their appearance isn’t as exciting as that of the colourful beetles, one of the new species described by Bryan Lessard in a paper published in the Australian Journal of Entomology has stirred quite a hullabaloo because of its newly acquired name, Scaptia beyoncea.

“It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer Beyonce as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy — the naming of the species,” said Lessard in a public announcement.

The “all-time diva of flies” was captured in 1981 — the same year Beyonce was born — in Atherton Tablelands, west of Cairns. But this is not the first time that an specie is named after a pop culture idol. Some of the now immortalised celebrities include:

Keith Richards
Perirehaedulus richardsi, a prehistoric trilobite.

Barack Obama
Caloplaca obamae, an orange-golden lichen.

Kate Winslet
Agra katewinsletae, a carabid bettle.

Harrison Ford
Pheidole harrisonfordi, an ant, and Calponia harrisonfordi, a spider.

Bill Gates
Eristalis gatesi, a Costa Rican flower fly.

Image: CSIRO

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