Not satisfied with the interminable carousel of international spin-offs, WoW conventions, and 60-acre fracking ranches, RuPaul Charles has now driven the mill of Drag Race so far into the ground that it has reached the forest floor of Dalby and Toowoomba in southeast Queensland – the home of a newly identified, 1cm-long soldier fly.
Though specimens had technically been discovered 100 years ago, it wasn’t until entomologist (and Drag Race superfan) Dr Bryan Lessard classified the bug, that it was officially recognised as a species. And when it came to naming the two-winged, iridescent diptera, it was, as Lessard told Australian press, “a no brainer”. “I think this fly can give RuPaul a run for her money on the runway because it's got legs for days and this glamazon look to it,” said Lessard, who is allegedly known as the ‘Bry the Fly Guy’. “It looked exactly like one of the outfits RuPaul would wear on the runway. It's a shiny, metallic rainbow kind of costume and it has legs for days,” he repeated.
While the accompanying press shot, which captures the insect skewered on a metal rod, may not do her much justice, the Opaluma rupaul is about more than just turning looks. Soldier flies play an important role in maintaining the ecosystem as their larvae and offspring recycle nutrients from rotting plants and animals. Which is not too dissimilar to the Drag Race girls and their respective fandoms. And, as Lessard explained, the “fun” naming of insects is an essential part of securing Australia's biosecurity. Just recently, a tiny beetle of the Coleoptera family Ptiliidae, was lovingly named after environmental activist Greta Tunberg. Truly, a World of Wonder.