RuPaul has become the first drag queen to have a species named after them, with CSIRO entomologist Bryan Lessard giving a new species of soldier fly the name Opaluma rupaul. It’s a move the scientist deemed an “obvious decision,” especially given the fly’s bright and colorful look.
The fly has been crowned the Opaluma Rupaul after drag icon RuPaul Charles, owing to its rainbow metallic color and "legs for days." https://t.co/uCQrS5xRfO
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) September 16, 2021
Beyonce already has a fly named after her. Lessard named the Scaptia beyonceae in 2011 and while many taxonomists “frowned upon” the move, Lessard believes it’s a great way to bring attention to these species and bring awareness to environmental threats. “There’s a new wave of entomologists using pop culture to generate interest in our science and what we do, which is really exciting,” Lessard explained, as per The Guardian.
With threats like climate change becoming more and more prominent, Opaluma rupaul could help. Lessard went on to say that bringing pop culture figures into the insect world will make a major difference, saying that it’s “a great way of generating attention about why flies are important, to get as many people as possible talking about these species that need help, so they can be protected.” He added: “With bushfire recovery efforts, normally the interest goes to the cute and cuddly species like koalas, but a lot of the invertebrates don’t have any attention, and they’re the essential workers of our ecosystem … it’s really important we study them.”
Why wouldn’t this fly be called Opaluma rupaul? As Lessard revealed, bestowing the name on the new species of soldier fly was a no-brainer. “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,” he said. “It has a costume of shiny metallic rainbow colors, and it has legs for days. I think once (Ru) sees the fly she’ll realize it’s quite fierce and hopefully appreciate the name.”
I bet RuPaul would be honored. Who’s going to tell them? I need their response!
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