A new species fly was named after RuPaul

From The Guardian:

The RuPaul fly is part of a new Australian genus named Opaluma (from the Latin words for opal and thorn), because they look like "little gems buzzing around the forest floor" and have a distinctive thorn tucked under their abdomen.


[Entomologist Bryan] Lessard said naming the soldier fly Opaluma rupaul came as an "obvious decision".

"I was watching a lot of RuPaul's Drag Race while examining the species and I know it would challenge RuPaul on the runway serving fierce looks," Lessard said.

"It has a costume of shiny metallic rainbow colours, and it has legs for days. I think once (Ru) sees the fly she'll realise it's quite fierce and hopefully appreciate the name."

The Opaluma rupaul is the 50th species to be named by Lessard, who began his pop culture bug campaign with another fly, the Scaptia beyonceae, in 2011. Some people apparently find this practice annoying. But for Lessard, it's strategic:

Naming a species is the first step to understanding and protecting them because otherwise they're invisible to science.

We've probably lost thousands of species we don't even know about in the bushfires because they haven't been documented, when it's so important our native species get that attention.

That's why I want to give them fabulous names, to get people excited about them.

In the case of the Opaluma rupaul, it comes from a part of Australia that's been ravaged by bushfires. Something something insert your own bad joke about too hot or flaming or whatever.

'Rainbow colours and legs for days': Australian fly species named after drag star RuPaul [Caitlin Cassidy / The Guardian]