© Provided by CNET But does it know how to sew? CSIRO
Meet Opaluma rupaul, a soldier fly newly named after RuPaul. Its multicolored iridescence recalls the splashy designer suits and gowns RuPaul wears on reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race. Still, being named after the hugely famous drag queen seems like a lot of pressure for a little insect. It better werk.
Opaluma rupaul is a member of the new Australian genus Opaluma (from the Latin words for opal and thorn). The name reflects the iridescent hues that characterize flies of this type, as well as the distinctive thorn found on the underside of their abdomens.
Australia's science agency CSIRO and its partners have named 13 new soldier flies this year, including Opaluma rupaul and two endangered insects: Opaluma opulens and Antissella puprasina. Many of the 13 come from areas hit by the 2019-2020 Australian bushfires, which ravaged the country for months, devastating towns, rural communities, livelihoods and wildlife.
© Provided by CNET RuPaul, on hearing about the eponymous soldier fly.
Bryan Lessard, who's a postdoctoral research fellow with the National Research Collections Australia and named the flies, hopes catchy monikers will attract the attention of citizen scientists and prompt policy makers to include the species in bushfire recovery efforts.
"Soldier flies are valuable in the ecosystem," Lessard said in a statement. "The larvae recycle nutrients from dead plants and animals, while adults are pollinators of some Australian plants."
Describing and naming Australia's diverse creatures is also important to preventing diseases from being introduced into populations of healthy animals, the scientist said.
"This year we identified an exotic species of mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus, that can transmit Japanese encephalitis virus and was detected in Australia for the first time. It was initially mistaken for an undescribed native species," Lessard said.
The list of newly named species released by CSIRO also includes three elusive beetles named Binburrum articuno, Binburrum zapdos and Binburrum moltres after three hard-to-find Pokemon: Articuno, Zapdos and Moltres.
Opaluma rupaul, of course, has one thing to say to all its fellow newly named species: If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?
Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists see the funny side of nature
1/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET It's been a tough couple of years. You deserve a laugh. Finalists in the annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are here to lift you up with uproarious images of nature at its nuttiest. From grumpy birds to clingy raccoons, these photographers have you covered. A snickering gray seal pup stars in this fortuitous shot. A little bit of basking is good enough reason to smile. Photographer Martina Novotna snapped the shot in the UK after waiting for hours on a rocky beach. Though it looks like it's laughing, the seal is actually yawning.
2/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET Two bear cubs stand up in a movement that almost looks choreographed. Photographer Andy Parkinson caught sight of the young bears on Russia's Kamchatka Peninsula. The wet bears had just crossed a stream.The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards of 2021 announced 42 finalists in September. The public can vote on a people's choice award. The winners' awards night is set for Oct. 22.
3/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A prairie dog appears to be putting up a fight in this meeting with a bald eagle in the US. There was a happy ending for the rodent. "When this bald eagle missed on its attempt to grab this prairie dog, the prairie dog jumped towards the eagle and startled it long enough to escape to a nearby burrow," said photographer Arthur Trevino.This image is one of the finalists in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards competition.
4/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET An otter parent takes its kid by the scruff during a swimming lesson in Singapore. This adorable and relatable image is one of the finalists for the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
5/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET Bald eagles are known for reusing nests, a project this bird was working on when it was captured in a face-plant with a branch. Eagles are considered to be among the most majestic of birds, but this one wasn't quite living up to its reputation. "Possibly tired from working nonstop all morning on a new nest, this particular Bald Eagle wasn't showing its best form," said photographer David Eppley, a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
6/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A ruby-crowned kinglet in California looks like it's ready for a game of Angry Birds. Photographer Patrick Dirlam followed it around for 15 minutes before it paused to pose. It's both cute and huffy, and that expressive face earned the image a spot as a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards.
7/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A brown bear lounges in Kodiak, Alaska, after having pawed out a bear bed to flop down in. "I would have to say she was the most provocative bear I had ever seen," said photographer Wenona Suydam.
8/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET It wasn't just ground and air dwellers that got in on the action for the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. This boxfish in the Caribbean looked like it was ready to step into a kissing booth. Photographer Philipp Stahr said these fish are notoriously hard to photograph, since they tend to turn away from divers.
9/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A monkey and giraffe duo in Uganda delivered a perfect trick of the eyes. The monkey looks like it's going for a ride, but it's actually climbing a branch in the foreground.
10/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET Kangaroos sometimes get into kicking battles. This particular 'roo in Australia missed and wound up showing off its gams.
11/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET This group of langur monkeys in India obviously has at least one superstar in the mix.
12/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A trio of Gentoo penguins in the Falkland Islands appear to be very in tune with each other. "I really enjoyed photographing this moment as it seems to capture some sassy personality displayed by these individuals," said photographer Joshua Galicki.
13/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET You don't have to be an exotic critter to get a nod in the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. This UK pigeon with a leaf on its face is a finalist.
14/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A raccoon in France found itself clinging to the outside of a window. Photographer Nicolas de Vaulx suspected the animal was trying to break in to steal food.
15/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A brown pelican in Louisiana looks like it's shrugging its shoulders. "As the pelicans woke up, they would shake the water off their bodies before heading out to fish," said photographer Dawn Wilson, a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards competition.
16/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET Photographer Vicki Jauron created this portfolio entry for the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards with four shots of an elephant taking a mud bath in Zimbabwe. Portfolio entries feature a series of shots.
17/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A ground squirrel in Hungary looks like it's taken up a musical instrument.
18/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A golden silk monkey in China appears to be in an uncomfortable position in this photo from Ken Jensen of the UK. Jensen explained that it's not what it looks like. The monkey is actually showing aggression and not pain.
19/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET A waving polar bear in Alaska appears to be photobombing a sweet portrait of two other bears. "A tender moment is shared by mom and one cub while the other photo-bombs with a wave to the onlookers. Or, it sure looked like a wave," said photographer Cheryl Strahl.
20/20 SLIDES © Provided by CNET This should make you smile. Photographer Axel Bocker took a glorious dragonfly close-up in Germany and earned a spot as a finalist in the 2021 Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards. Check out all the finalists at the competition's website and vote for your favorite.