Blue Ivy not the only gift for Beyonce

By Greg Ansley

Baby Blue Ivy Carter is not the only new gift to Beyonce.

An Australian researcher has named a previously un-named species of horse fly after the American pop singer.

The fly, resplendent with a golden lower abdomen, was dubbed Scaptia (Plinthina) beyoncae by Bryan Lessard, of the state science organisation CSIRO's Australian National Insect Collection.

"It was the unique dense golden hairs on the fly's abdomen that led me to name this fly in honour of the performer Beyonce as well as giving me the chance to demonstrate the fun side of taxonomy - the naming of species," Mr Lessard said.

The rare species was collected in 1981, the year Beyonce was born, from north-east Queensland's Atherton Tablelands together with two other previously unknown specimens.

Mr Lessard, whose paper naming the fly appeared in the Australian Journal of Entomology, said most Australian Scaptia species had been described.

But five new species of a sub-group, Plinthina, had been housed in Australian collections since the group was last studied in the 1960's.

The discovery doubled the known size of the Scaptia (Plinthina) subgenus and extended the known distribution of Scaptia into the Northern Territory and north-western Australia where they were previously thought not to exist.

Nor should Beyonce wince at her insect namesake.

"Although often considered a pest, many species of horse fly are extremely important pollinators of many plants," Mr Lessard said. "Horse flies act like hummingbirds during the day, drinking nectar from their favourite varieties of grevillea, tea trees and eucalypts."

- NZ Herald

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