When most people think of scientists, they think of a by-the-book attitude and no jokes. This, however, is not the case for one Australian entomologist who named a new species of fly after his RuPaul binge.
What is entomology and why is it suddenly fabulous?
Basically, an entomologist is someone who studies insects. Bryan Lessard is one such “insectophile” for the CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation) who caused debate among the scientific community after naming a new species of soldier fly Opaluma RuPaul. But his decision is understandable – the similarities are just too close not to:
Lessard explained his reasoning as “obvious”, having binged the hit show RuPaul’s Drag Race while he was working on documenting the new species of soldier fly: “It [too] has a costume of shiny metallic rainbow colors, and it has legs for days.”
But why all the gossip?
The issue some academics have is that this is not the first time Lessard has named a new insect species after a celebrity. Back in 2011, he christened a new species of horsefly scaptia beyonceae, after . . well, try and guess.
But when asked Lessard has condoned his pop-culture system of naming as conducive to raising awareness to endangered or rare species. He is part of a “new wave of entomologists” fighting the detrimental effects of bushfires and climate change.
Their goal, according to Lessard, is to “get as many people as possible talking about these species that need help, so they can be protected . . . otherwise they’re invisible to science . . . That’s why I want to give them fabulous names, to get people excited about them.”
Clearly, Mr. Lessard and Australians in general just seem to be more active and involved than anyone else when it comes to conservation and protecting the things they love, whether it be one species of fly or another; or even kegs of beer. All in all, they are inspired and impassioned people.