Australian scientists have named a new species of horse fly with a golden bottom in honor of the American pop diva Beyoncé, according to a press release from the Australian national science agency CSIRO. The rare fly was first collected in the year Beyoncé was born.
The fly’s spectacular gold color makes it the ‘all time diva of flies,’ said Bryan Lessard, the Australian National Insect Collection researcher responsible for officially describing the fly. Its scientific name is Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae.
Bryan Lessard said:
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.
Although often considered a pest, many species of horse fly are extremely important pollinators of many plants.
Horse flies act like hummingbirds during the day, drinking nectar from their favorite varieties of grevillea, tea trees and eucalypts.
The rare Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae species of horse fly was collected in 1981, the year that Beyoncé was born, from north-east Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands together with two other previously unknown specimens. Lessard said:
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 1960s.
According to Mr Lessard’s paper, published in the Australian Journal of Entomology, 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.
Nearly 4,400 species of horse flies have been described from all biogeographic regions of the world.
Bottom line: Australian scientists have named a new species of horse fly with a golden bottom in honor of the American pop diva Beyoncé. The fly was first collected in the year she was born.
Jorge Salazar has conducted thousands of in-depth interviews with scientists in the process of creating science content for EarthSky. He also helps host the 90-second EarthSky podcasts. Jorge has a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Texas at Austin. He knows a lot about a lot of different things. For EarthSky, he has explored subjects as diverse as nanotechnology, ecosystem-based management, climate change, global health, international environmental treaties, astrophysics and cosmology, and environmental security. His penetrating research style, poetic writing, and ability to track down and speak with Nobel prize-winning laureates, all make him a huge asset to EarthSky.