In 2012, popstar Lady Gaga had an entire genus of 19 ferns named after her. Naming plant and animal species after well-known people can give endangered species wider attention. Classification of organisms is vital to create a better understanding of the natural world and how it’s all interconnected. Taxonomy is particularly important to gauge and prevent further biodiversity loss, with 23% of species predicted to die out by 2100. People have long named their pets after celebrities or well-known figures, but scientists do it too – and for good reason. Naming newly-identified species – particularly endangered ones – after a celebrity can give an otherwise unremarkable creature widespread attention, raising awareness of their plight. Australian entomologist Dr Bryan Lessard named a horsefly subgenus in tribute to the singer Beyoncé, after he discovered the specimen with a golden abdomen and honey-coloured wings in the Australian National Insect Collection. Saying he knew that this was likely to be one opportunity he’d have to name a species after the Single Ladies singer, Lessard added that he hoped that the moniker Scaptia beyonceae would make the horsefly “an ambassador for bootylicious biodiversity” . In 2012, fellow popstar Lady Gaga had an entire genus […]

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