A new rainbow fly species has been named after RuPaul

A new rainbow fly species has been named after RuPaul

What do Drag Queen RuPaul and a brand-new rainbow fly that’s been discovered have in common?

Well, thanks to an Australian scientist, the two now share the same name after he named the fly species “Opaluma rupaul.”

Opaluma rupaul is an iridescent species of soldier fly, a species that many may not know to play an important role in the ecosystem.

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

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

While the “opaluma” part of the name derives from the Latin words for “opal” and “thorn,” Lessard wanted to capture the insects bright, iridescent look within the species name.

And what better way to do this than to name the species after a celebrity famed for serving charisma and uniqueness.

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“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 told The Guardian.

“It has a costume of shiny metallic rainbow colours, and it has legs for days. I think once (Ru) sees the fly she’ll realise it’s quite fierce and hopefully appreciate the name.”

“Naming a species is the first step to understanding and protecting them because otherwise they’re invisible to science,” Lessard added.

He’s certainly gotten RuPaul attention and seal of approval for the namesake as she shared the news on Twitter.

While doing this, Lessard also hopes Opaluma rupaul help to get young LGBTQ people interested in science.

“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 told CNN. “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.”

Opaluma rupaul is just one of 150 new species named by CSIRO in the last year, and as Lessard perfectly put - “Category is: new species extravaganza!”

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