Science Agency Names Five New Insects after Comic Book Heroes

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. resemble / rɪˈzɛm bəl / (v) – to look like someone or something

    I resemble my mom a lot. We have the same face shape and eye color.

  2. akin / əˈkɪn / (adj) – having the same characteristics or being related to something else

    Bees are akin to wasps.

  3. mercenary / ˈmɜr səˌnɛr i / (n) – a person, usually a soldier, who fights for whomever pays him/her

    Mercenaries are loyal only to those who pay them.

  4. reminiscent / ˌrɛm əˈnɪs ənt / (adj) – able to remind someone of another person or thing due to similarities with it

    His art style is reminiscent of his mentor’s.

  5. concerted / kənˈsɜr tɪd / (adj) – done, planned, or performed together

    The company achieved its goal because of the concerted effort of all its employees.


Read the text below.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), a science agency based in Australia, named five flies after popular Marvel icons.

Four of the flies were given scientific names that reference Marvel characters Thor, Loki, Deadpool, and Black Widow, and the remaining one was named after Marvel creator Stan Lee. The insects’ scientific names were chosen based on physical traits that made them resemble the persons they were named after.

For example, the Thor fly, which has gold and light brown spots akin to Thor’s blond hair and the gold accents on his outfit, was given the scientific name Daptolestes bronteflavus. The Latin word bronteflavus translates to “blond thunder.” The Deadpool fly, Humorolethalis sergius, is orange-red and black, similar to the mercenary’s suit. Daptolestes leei, or the Stan Lee fly, has facial markings reminiscent of Lee’s signature sunglasses and white mustache.

Dr. Brian Lessard, a scientist from CSIRO, said that it’s important to identify, name, and differentiate between species because that helps people better understand each species’ unique characteristics and abilities. Understanding each species allows biologists and other researchers to learn how to care for these organisms better.

Lessard added that naming species also allows scientists to exercise their creativity. He said that while the best part of naming species is that scientists can choose whatever name they like, they must also be careful because the name will be used forever.

Along with the five flies, CSIRO scientists also recently named 151 other insects, eight new plants, two new fish, and three new subspecies of birds. The organization was able to find and name the new animals and plants through concerted efforts with its research partners.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Do you agree with CSIRO’s decision to name insects after popular Marvel icons? Why or why not?
• Do you agree that naming, identifying, and differentiating between species can help people understand plants and animals better? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Do you think scientists can identify and name all animal and plant species on Earth? Why or why not?
• What should be the basis when deciding the name of a new plant or animal (e.g. appearance, person who discovered it)? Explain.