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Beyoncé honored with new horse fly named after her

Scaptia beyonceae.
Scaptia beyonceae. Photo by: Bryan Lessard, CSIRO.

Musical artist, and dancer extraordinare, Beyoncé has been awarded a new honor this week: entomologists in Australia have named a new horse fly after the American singer. The horse fly, dubbed Scaptia beyonceae, is found in Queensland’s Atherton Tablelands.

“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,” Bryan Lessard, a researcher at the Australian National Insect Collection, said in a press release. Lessard called the new species the “all time diva of flies”.

Beyoncé’s horse fly was discovered in 1981—the same year Beyoncé was born, but had lingered in collections before finally being given a name.

“Although often considered a pest, many species of horse fly are extremely important pollinators of many plants,” Lessard said. “Horse flies act like hummingbirds during the day, drinking nectar from their favorite varieties of grevillea, tea trees and eucalypts.” There are currently over 4,000 species of horse fly in the world.

Naming new species after celebrities and well-known persons is becoming increasingly common. For one thing, it usually results in much greater media coverage of the discovery. Around 18,000 new species are discovered annually, many of which never make the news, especially insects.

Lessard with Beyoncé eponymous fly.
Lessard with Beyoncé’s eponymous fly. Photo by: Bryan Lessard, CSIRO.

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