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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Lucius Malfoy gets sting: Wasp named after Harry Potter character

But ‘Lusius malfoyi’ should not be regarded as a villain, says entomologist.

science Updated: Oct 11, 2017 08:21 IST
Prerna Madan
Prerna Madan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
An entomologist in New Zealand has named a wasp after Lucius Malfoy.
An entomologist in New Zealand has named a wasp after Lucius Malfoy. (Picture courtesy: Tom Saunders/Pottermore )

Guess which Harry Potter character inspired the name of a wasp in New Zealand? Hint: He had long, white-blonde hair and didn’t really like house elves.

An entomologist in New Zealand has named a wasp ‘Lusius malfoyi’ after the character Lucius Malfoy from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter.

Tom Saunders, of the University of Auckland, said he named the wasp after the “pardoned” Harry Potter character to ”restore the reputation” of wasps.

“Just as Lucius Malfoy is pardoned after separating from Voldemort’s allies, I’m asking people to pardon wasps in order to restore their reputation as interesting, important creatures. Only a small fraction sting people and become pests.”

“People see wasps as villains, as the ‘bad guys’. But the truth is that the vast majority of wasp species are either neutral, or beneficial, from a human standpoint,” said Sanders, who has been fascinated with the diversity of wasps and their behaviours.

Lusius malfoyi
Lusius malfoyi ( Picture courtesy: Tom Saunders )

Lucius played the father of Harry Potter’s teenage rival Draco Malfoy. The father and son duo were Voldemort’s followers, called Death Eaters, who weren’t cut out for pure villains. In the last Harry Potter book, both of them renounced the Dark Arts to survive the final battle.

‘Lusius malfoyi’ is one of the 3,000 wasps native to New Zealand. The pale insect is also the first specie of parasitoid wasps to be from the Australasian region, according to Saunders’ published study.

Parasitoid wasps lay their larvae inside or on other insects, eventually killing their hosts. “It is gruesome, but there is no doubt that these wasps are important components of ecosystems, and also important for control of pests in horticulture.” 

Sanders told HT parasitoid wasps can be used instead of pesticides to control pests. “This means they can help to reduce chemical use in agriculture, which has positive effects on conserving biodiversity.”

First Published: Oct 10, 2017 16:12 IST