Australian scientists have named a new rainbow-colored fly species after famed drag queen rupaul.
Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) entomologist Bryan Lessard on Tuesday shared news of the soldier fly's Latin name: Opaluma rupaul.
Category is: new species extravaganza! Introducing the @RuPaul soldier fly, serving charisma and uniqueness, one of 150 new species named by @CSIRO in the last year! #csirocollections https://t.co/CMRbUODVqN pic.twitter.com/TCPNFGYUDo— Dr Bryan Lessard (@BrytheFlyGuy) September 14, 2021
"I'd been watching a lot of 'RuPaul's Drag Race' when I was examining the specimen under the microscope, so it was on my mind," Lessard told CNN. "And I really wanted to give this group of flies a memorable name because it needs the attention — the first specimen of this RuPaul fly was collected over a hundred years ago and sat neglected in a museum collection until someone with the knowledge of that group came along to name and document them."
Lessard also said that he hoped the naming of the soldier fly can help tie together pop culture and the LGBTQ community with science and entomology.
"As a gay scientist, it took me a long time to feel comfortable in my own skin in a very traditional field of science — in entomology," he said. "I think it's really important for the next generation of LGBTQ+ scientists to know that they're being represented in the workplace, as we give the names of legends in the community to memorable species."
USA Today reported that there are 2,700 species of soldier flies, which do not fly around as much as standard house flies.
CSIRO recently named some 150 new species, according to CNN, including three newly discovered beetles named after rare Pokémon.
Ten years ago, Lessard named the Scaptia beyonceae fly after megastar Beyoncé.