New species of rainbow flies with “legs for days” named after RuPaul


An Australian scientist has named a new eye-catching fly species by the name of RuPaul – and the ‘Drag Race’ host seems to approve.

Opaluma rupaul (the “opaluma” part from the Latin words for “opal” and “thorn”) is an iridescent species of soldier fly, an important insect that is generally underestimated by the general public.

“Soldier flies are valuable in the ecosystem,” Bryan Lessard, entomologist at the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, said in a statement. “The larvae recycle nutrients from dead plants and animals, while the adults are the pollinators of some Australian plants.”

This is why, in Lessard’s mind, the new species deserved a name that lived up to its flashy appearance.

Fly, fly, fly, fly, uh oh, uh oh. (Photo: CSIRO)

“Designating a species is the first step to understanding and protecting them, because otherwise they are invisible to science,” he told The Guardian.

Lessard thought RuPaul would appreciate the name after realizing the insect is “quite fierce.”

“He’s got a shiny metallic rainbow color suit and he’s got legs for days,” he said.

That prediction appears to have been correct, as RuPaul tweeted about the fabulous fly on Wednesday.

Opaluma rupaul is one of 13 new species of soldier flies named by Lessard – aka “Bry the Fly Guy”. Nine live in areas devastated by the fierce forest fires of 2019 and 2020, he said.

Lessard wants Opaluma Rupaul to serve as a positive signal to young LGBTQ interested in science.

“As a gay scientist, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin in a very traditional field of science – entomology,” Lessard told CNN. “I think it’s really important for the next generation of LGBTQ + scientists to know that they are represented in the workplace, because we are giving the names of community legends to memorable species.”

Lessard had previously made headlines for naming a different insect after a celebrity in 2012 Рthe Scaptia beyonceae, a gadfly named after Beyonc̩.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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