A Shimmering Rainbow Fly Has Been Named In Honor Of RuPaul

15September 2021

View from above (dorsal view) of the new soldier fly named after RuPaul, Opaluma rupaul.

CSIRO Australia

CSIRO Australia

RuPaul has a new accomplishment to add to his resume: having a (fabulous) insect named after him.

Researchers with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, announced that a soldier fly known for its bright, shimmering colors will henceforth be known as the Opaluma rupaul. The fly is part of the new Australian genus Opaluma, which comes from the Latin words for opal and thorn; the latter refers to the thorn on the underside of the flies’ belly, researchers also explained.

Bryan Lessard, an entomologist with CSIRO and a fellow with the National Research Collections Australia, found his inspiration while watching RuPaul host his show, Drag Race, he told The Guardian.

“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 colors, and it has legs for days. I think once [RuPaul] sees the fly she’ll realize it’s quite fierce and hopefully appreciate the name.”

RuPaul has not commented publicly on the name, but did share news of the naming on his Twitter account.

The Opaluma rupaul is the 50th species Lessard has named, with his first one being the Scaptia beyonceae, which he named after Beyoncé in 2011, The Guardian reports.

Lessard hopes that pop culture names will help attract attention for vulnerable species, and said that many of the soldier flies he recently named live in areas that have been hit by bushfires, according to the CSIRO news release. CSIRO also recently named three rare beetles after three elusive Pokemon characters.

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