There are very few things Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t do. He wanted to become Mr Universe, so he did it. He wanted to be a movie icon, so he did it. He even wanted to become governor of California, so he did it. Now, he has unlocked his greatest achievement yet: the world’s smallest fly is officially named after him.
The bizarre new fly species was discovered in the Brazilian Amazon by entomologist Brian Brown. Measuring a wimpy 0.395 millimeters in length, Brown believes it’s the smallest fly known to science. But naming a fly of such tiny stature is not an ironic dig at Arnie, it’s actually a reference to the insect's unusually “beefy” forelegs.
"As soon as I saw those bulging legs, I knew I had to name this one after Arnold," said Brown, of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, in a statement. "Not only is he a major cultural icon and an important person in the political realm, his autobiography gave me some hope that I could improve my body as a skinny teenager."
"It is known only from one female specimen that we almost overlooked because it is so incredibly small,” he added.
The study of this new fly, named Megapropodiphora arnoldi, is published in the open-access Biodiversity Data Journal.
Just like Schwarzenegger, M. arnoldi is a pretty interesting character. While its forelegs are unusually big, its middle and hind legs are pretty weedy, and its wings reduced to tiny stubs. Due to its size and its unusually sharp sex organs, Brown believes that the fly is a parasitoid, which is a bit like a parasite except it kills its hosts. It most likely latches onto ants or termites, covertly sneaks into their nests, and begins to parasitize the colony.
Brown has become a pro at discovering new species of tiny flies. Just two years ago, he and his team described a total of 12 scuttle fly species previously unknown to science that are natives of Los Angeles.
Arnie is not the first weird bug to be named after a politician. Who could forget Neopalpa donaldtrumpi, a species of moth with a strange blond thing on its head and small genitals that was named after Donald Trump?