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A rare species of horse fly has remained nameless for decades – there are over 4,000 species of horse flies worldwide to be categorized and named, after all. That is, until researcher Bryan Lessard, who works at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia, decided to name the insect after the American pop star, Beyonce Knowles, who, with her past group, Destiny’s Child, in 2001, released the hit single “Bootylicious.”
The horse fly was found in the Queensland providence – a northeastern area in Australia – with two other horse fly species in 1981, the year Ms. Knowles was born. “It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honor of the performer Beyoncé, as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy – the naming of species,” Lessard states in CSIRO’s media release.
As stated by the researcher, the horse fly is an “all time diva of flies,” having a “bootylicious,” golden rear end. The species, named Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae, is one of the five species of horse flies belonging to the new species subgroup (Plinthina), which has been doubled in the number of species due to the discovery of the fly with the golden butt. More than one hundred species of horse fly are categorized in the genus Scaptia.
“Most Australian Scaptia species have been described,” Lessard states. “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.” More detailed information regarding Beyonce’s fly is provided in Lessard’s paper, which was published in the August online edition of the Australian Journal of Entomology.
Horse flies are more than their frightful appearances and ferocious stings. They actually play an important role in the ecosystem. “Horse flies act like hummingbirds during the day, drinking nectar from their favorite varieties of grevillea, tea trees, and eucalyptus,” explains Lessard. According to the research organization’s news blog, the CSIRO has yet to hear any reaction from Beyonce, who has recently given birth to her first child, Blue Ivy Carter.
Beyonce is not the only celebrity to have a species’ binomial nomenclature designated after a celebrity’s apellation. Others include Arnold Schwarzenegger and the carabid beetle, Agra schwarzeneggeri, Roy Orbinson and the beetle, Orectochilus, Sting and the frog, Hyla stingus, Frank Zappa and the spider, Pachygnatha zappa, and Mick Jagger and the trilobite, Aegrotocatellus jaggeri.