Jan 132012

Robert Redford may have a beetle, but musical sensation Beyoncé is fly!

That’s right, Ms. Sasha Fierce has been bestowed with the taxonomic honour of patronymy by Australian dipterists Bryan Lessard and David Yeates.

Beyonce fly Scaptia beyonceae

Bryan was bedazzled by the golden rumped females of the newly described Scaptia beyonceae, a horse fly in the family Tabanidae, and decided to forever immortalize Beyoncé’s Bootylicious bottom. The species may have been a child of destiny, as the type specimen was collected in northern Australia shortly after Beyoncé’s birth, and has only been collected twice since. Nobody knows how this fly species would appear if it were a boy, as all known specimens are female.

I tried reaching Taylor Swift to learn when her own fly would be coming out, but was interrupted by Kanye West who apparently thinks this is one of the best flies of all time. No word yet when junior synonym Scaptia blueivyii will be described, but I’ll keep you updated!

(All kidding aside, Bryan is a cool guy who I met at ESA this past fall. He described another 4 species in the same paper, including one named for Dr. Leigh Nelson (Scaptia nelsonae) which isn’t receiving near the press for some reason…)

ResearchBlogging.orgBryan D Lessard, & David K Yeates (2011). New species of the Australian horse fly subgenus Scaptia (Plinthina) Walker 1850 (Diptera: Tabanidae), including species descriptions and a revised key Australian Journal of Entomology, 50 (3), 241-252 : DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-6055.2011.00809.x

  8 Responses to “Irreplaceable fly described from Australia”

  1. Well, I’d seen the name Beyoncé, but when I asked my wife, she had to correct my pronunciation. I can’t complain about the 15 minutes on Google this morning learning more about her and her music (and giving me the chance to explain ‘bootylicious’ to my wife and recover a bit of dignity). Ms Knowles seems like a nice person, so I hope Lessard and Yeatsie won’t come to regret this. The AJE website is certainly making the most of it – including listing about a dozen ‘has been featured by the following online news sites’.

    ‘Best Thing I Never Had’ is the only song I really liked in my limited sampling this morning, but it was neat to learn about the feeding habits of Scaptia. I’d always thought the long proboscises so common on Australian tabanids had to do with penetrating dense and deep marsupial fur. Instead, it seems more likely they are related to nectar-feeding. Who would have thought March Flies were important pollinators? I especially like the paper they referenced on Philoliche aethiopica – ‘Lying to Pinocchio: floral deception in an orchid pollinated by long-proboscid flies’ (Johnson & Morita 2006 Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 152: 271–278). What a spectacular fly! Alex Wild has a spectacular picture – captured with a CoolPix no less: http://myrmecos.net/insects/Philoliche1.html

  2. If you like it, then you better put some setae on it.

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