A team of Brazilian biologists has discovered seven new species of cave spider. While any other team of arachnid focused biologists may have turned to Greek or Roman literature for inspiration, the Brazilians have instead named these new species after figures in pop culture.
The seven new species of spider were found in the iron-rich sediment deposits of a cave system which resides in the state of Pará. Publishing their findings in the journal ZooKeys, the paper represents five years of fieldwork and the collection of almost 2,000 specimens.
The spiders were given the following names:
- Ochyrocera laracna is named after Laracna, which is the Portuguese translation of Shelob. For those unaware, Shelob is the giant spider who resides in Tolkien’s Middle-Earth. Shelob, much like these new cave spiders, made her home in a labyrinth of webs within a cave network.
- Ochyrocera ungoliant was named for Shelob’s mother, Ungoliant.
- Ochyrocera aragogue was named after Aragog, which is the car-sized spider who finds his home in Harry Potter’s Forbidden Forest.
- Ochyrocera charlotte is of course named after the character from the 1952 classic Charlotte’s Web.
- Ochyrocera misspider is named for David Kirk’s Miss Spider series of children’s books
- Ochyrocera atlachnacha takes its name from Atlach-Nacha, the spider-like entity created by H.P. Lovecraft
- Ochyrocera varys was named after the George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire character Lord Varys. Lord Varys is a cunning spy, and is often referred to as the Spider.
While you likely won’t see any of these spiders outside a Brazilian cave, I personally hope they creatures never live up to their namesakes.
Images: HBO, Scholastic, New Line