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Rainbow-colored soldier fly is named after drag queen RuPaul by Australian scientist

·2 min read

A fly species was named after drag queen superstar RuPaul by Australian entomologists on Wednesday, affirming drag's growing influence on society.

The soldier fly, which fittingly sports bold rainbow colors, now has the Latin name of Opaluma rupaul. Bryan Lessard of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation said the icon served as perfect inspiration.

"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."

There are 2,700 species of soldier flies. They are known to not fly around as much as house flies, and they come in a variety of colors.

The new soldier flies all got fitting tributes. Among the other 13 new soldier flies Lessard named are based off areas affected by the 2019-2020 bushfires.

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The RuPaul fly is just one of 150 new species recently named by the organization. Lessard named the Scaptia beyonceae fly after the "Queen Bee" – Beyoncé.

RuPaul, considered to be the most famous drag queen in the world, has produced and hosted the reality competition series "RuPaul's Drag Race" since 2009. The show has won eight Emmy Awards. Lessard said naming the fly RuPaul 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," Lessard 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."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Rainbow soldier fly is named after drag queen RuPaul

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