Pop diva Beyoncé has been in the news a lot recently, since the birth of her first child, Blue Ivy Carter. However, her name has hit the headlines for a different reason, after inspiring an Australian taxonomist to name a horse fly after her.
Bryan Lessard, from the CSIRO’s Australian National Insect Collection in Canberra, named the fly Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae because it has a prominent golden lower abdomen. To Bryan, who admits to being something of a fan, the unique dense gold hairs on the fly reminded him of Beyoncé’s flashy golden stage outfits.
The rare fly was collected in 1981, the same year Beyoncé was born, from eucalypt forests in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland.
I’m not sure whether this is the most flattering thing that’s ever happened to Beyoncé, but I love that it shows scientists are just normal people who listen to R&B in their labs while they work, and find themselves as captivated by a luscious feminine form in a gold frock as the next person. And perhaps are human enough to want to see their names in the gossip magazines, and maybe even get a personal response from their idol (she hasn’t made one).
Beyoncé’s name is as unique as the horse fly, being created especially for her. Her mother Tina’s maiden name is Beyincé, a Creole surname from Louisiana. When she discovered that the Beyincé name was dying out, Tina decided to call her daughter Beyoncé, her own version of the surname. Apparently Tina’s parents were not impressed at first, because “that’s a last name”.
Beyincé is a form of the French surname Boyancé. I don’t know what the surname means, but it entertains me that it coincides with boyance, the Old French word for “expectation”.
While the names of celebrities often become popular baby names (think Scarlett and Ashton, for example), Beyoncé’s name remains in very rare use. It belongs so completely to herself, and no other.