New Discoveries

Harry Potter fan and biologist names wasp after Lucius Malfoy to dispel the insect’s ‘bad guy’ image

Thomas Saunders named a newly discovered species of non-stinging wasp Lusius malfoyi, after the villain who was pardoned in the fantasy novel series.

A New Zealand entomologist named a newly discovered wasp species after Lucius Malfoy, a villain in the Harry Potter novel series who was pardoned, in an attempt to help dispel the perception that they are bad. Thomas Saunders hopes to make the insect a “poster-child” and spark a conversation about the “useful creatures”, CNN reported.

“People see wasps as villains, as the bad guys,” Saunders told CNN. “But the truth is that the vast majority of wasp species are either neutral or beneficial, from a human standpoint.

Towards the end of the series, Malfoy’s character turns over a new leaf to save his family. “Just as Lucius Malfoy is pardoned after separating from [Harry Potter’s nemesis] Voldemort’s allies, I am asking people to pardon wasps in order to restore their reputation as interesting, important creatures.” He said he read his first Harry Potter book when he was 10.

Lusius malfoyi, a species of non-stinging wasps, is one of around 3,000 insects found in New Zealand. Saunders said he wants to draw attention to insect species that New Zealand may be losing.

“If you look at the diversity of wasps around the world, you will find only a tiny fraction, less than 1% are pests and problems,” he told The Guardian. “I was inspired to name this species in a way that would hopefully spark a larger conversation about the relationship that humans have with the millions of species that share the planet with us.”

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