Some researchers at the University of Thailand just named a recently discovered parasitoid wasp Aleiodes gaga, in honor of Lady Gaga. We don’t know why they chose Gaga for this honor; presumably someone should ask, but maybe no one speaks Thai, because no one has. At any rate, other than having gossamer wings like Lady Gaga might wear in concert and goggly blue eyes like the weird glasses she might wear to the grocery store, the wasp doesn’t have a lot in common with its namesake, except for the fact that some people are just pissed off about its existence.
You know how some people just hate Lady Gaga, and are so mad that she’s famous and think she represents everything wrong with the world? Well, that’s the deal with this wasp too. It’s not that they’re mad about the wasp per se — what did a parasitic wasp ever do to anyone anyway, besides feed on them? It’s that A. gaga was classified using a barcode system that is way faster than the standard, painstaking way of classifying species. Which, apparently, kind of feels like cheating.
This species, along with 178 others, was part of the first “turbo-taxonomic study,” where scientists classified animals with a barcode that scans their mitochondrial COI gene. We have no idea what that is, but you should know that its detractors do not prefer this method. They’re more old-fashioned — they’d like to know more about the bug’s characteristics, ecological niche, and variability in relation to similar species.
At any rate this Lady Gaga bug is really caught in a war he almost certainly doesn’t understand. He doesn’t care how fast people decide what kind of bug he is. He himself has no idea. It kind of makes you think, and you know, whenever I think too much I like to put on a sexy outfit and dance to Poker Face. Those scientists who are all mad at each other might want to give that a try.
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