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2nd August 2020

Science Deadpool fly among new Australian ‘super power’ species creating a buzz

Science Deadpool fly among new Australian ‘super power’ species creating a buzz

Science

science The Deadpool fly, or Humorolethalis sergius - from the Latin for wet or moist and deadImage copyright
Shutterstock/Csiro

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The new Deadpool fly, or Humorolethalis sergius, from the Latin for wet or moist – and dead. The Marvel character is played by Ryan Reynolds

A villain with the markings of the Marvel character Deadpool is among several new species with so-called “super powers” to have created a buzz with scientists in Australia.

The country’s national science agency, Csiro, says that 165 new species – including insects, plants, birds, fish and a mite – have been named in the past year, some of which resemble a number of comic characters, including Thor, Loki and Black Widow.

“Deadpool fly is an assassin with markings on its back that resembles Deadpool’s mask,” Bryan Lessard, a Csiro entomologist, said in a statement.

science The Black Widow fly, or Daptolestes feminategus - meaning woman wearing leatherImage copyright
Shutterstock/Csiro

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The Black Widow fly, or Daptolestes feminategus – meaning woman wearing leather. The Marvel character is played by Scarlett Johansson

In tribute to the late Stan Lee, who created The Fantastic Four for Marvel Comics in 1961 and went on to develop titles including Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, he now has a namesake in the form of a fly “with a white moustache”, Csiro says.

science The Stan Lee fly, or Daptolestes leei, which shares his characteristic sunglasses and white moustacheImage copyright
Getty Images/Csiro

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The Stan Lee fly, or Daptolestes leei, which is said to share his characteristic sunglasses and white moustache

Loki, the mythological mischief-maker who appears in the Marvel Cinematic Universe series, is arguably the franchise’s greatest villain.

science The Loki fly, or Daptolestes illusiolautus, meaning elegant deceptionImage copyright
Shutterstock/Csiro

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The Loki fly, or Daptolestes illusiolautus, meaning elegant deception. The Marvel character is played by Tom Hiddleston

While naming new species can be fun, bee and wasp expert Juanita Rodriguez says it is also vital for our everyday lives.

“We discovered a new species of spider wasp that is only found in an area badly impacted by bushfires this summer, so now we can carefully monitor its recovery,” Ms Rodriguez says.

She adds that venom produced by spider wasps might be useful for treating Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy.

science The Thor fly, or Daptolestes bronteflavus, meaning blond thunderImage copyright
Shutterstock/Csiro

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The Thor fly, or Daptolestes bronteflavus, meaning blond thunder. The Marvel character is played by Chris Hemsworth

Thor, Marvel Comics’ god of thunder who battles to save Earth from evil forces, also makes an appearance in the list of new fly species.

Only a quarter of Australian insects are known to science, Dr Lessard says, adding that the more species are named, the better we can “understand their super powers”.

“Without a scientific name, these species are invisible to science,” he says.

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