Researchers Name Horse Fly Species after Beyoncé

Saturday, January 14, 2012
Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae (photo: CSIRO)
A rare Australian horse fly has been named after one of pop music's most glamorous stars: Beyoncé.
Although others may make light of the decision, entomologist Bryan Lessard was sincere, if not a little cheeky, when he explained why Australia's national science agency CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) chose the name Beyoncé for the species Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae.
“It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly’s abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer Beyoncé as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy–the naming of species,” Lessard said on the CSIRO blog.
More to the point, the fly sports a golden-colored rear end which reminded Australian experts of the single “Bootylicious,” which Beyoncé recorded while a member of the group Destiny’s Child.
Another connection shared between Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae—which Lessard called the “all time diva of flies”—and the famous singer is 1981: the year the fly was first discovered by scientists and the year Beyoncé was born.
CSIRO had previously named a spider after singer-songwriter Neil Young, a whirligig beetle after singer Roy Orbison, and extinct trilobites after members of The Ramones.
American researchers have also demonstrated a flair for creative naming. Last year biologists from San Francisco State University named a Borneo fungus after SpongeBob SquarePants (Spongiforma squarepantsii), and in 2009 Kerry Knudsen, a researcher at the University of California, Riverside Herbarium, named a lichen after President Barack Obama—Caloplaca obamae. Back in 2005, entomologists Quentin Wheeler and Kelly Miller named a species of slime-mold beetle after President George W. Bush—Agathidium bushi.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
CSIRO Unveils Bootylicious Beyonce Fly (by Ben Atherton, ABC News)
Newly Discovered Mushroom Named after SpongeBob (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Taking a Lichen to Obama (by David Wallechinsky and Jackie Gallegos, AllGov) 


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