Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Golden-bum fly is Beyonce tribute

A newly discovered horsefly in Australia has been named after pop diva Beyonce (Bryan Lessard/CSIRO)
Pop diva Beyonce has had a newly-discovered horsefly with a golden backside named after her

A newly-discovered horsefly with a prominent golden backside has been named after singer Beyonce.

Bryan Lessard, a 24-year-old researcher at Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, discovered the species that had been sitting in a fly collection since it was captured in 1981 - the same year Beyonce was born.

He said he wanted to pay respect to the insect's beauty by naming it Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae.

Mr Lessard said Beyonce would be "in the nature history books forever" and that the fly now bearing her name is "pretty bootylicious" with its golden backside.

"Bootylicious" was the title of a song by Beyonce's previous group, Destiny's Child.

It is unknown if the rare species is a bloodsucker like many female horse flies. Mr Lessard said he was unable to find any live specimens when he went looking in 2010 in north-east Queensland's Atherton Tablelands, where it was captured three decades ago. However, at least one member of the public has alerted him that he was recently bitten by what's locally called the "gold bum fly."

The description of the fly was earlier published in the Australian Journal of Entomology, but the results were announced last week.

Mr Lessard said he has not heard from Beyonce, who recently gave birth to her first child, but he is a fan and hopes she will take his scientific gesture as a compliment. He also said the name was picked to help draw attention to the importance of his field and the need for more researchers to catalogue and study insects.

Horse flies are "vital pollinators of native plants, not just in Australia, but all over the world," he said. "It's extremely important to name all the undescribed species so we can measure our human impact on the environment and hopefully protect it for future generations to enjoy."

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