In December last year, a new species of spider discovered in Karnataka was christened ‘Eriovixia gryffindori’, after the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter. Now, another arachnid has been named after one of the characters from the series, Aragog – the king of arachnids himself!
This new wolf spider was discovered in a mountain burrow in Iran and has been named ‘Lycosa aragogi’, after the giant spider, Aragog. The newly discovered species holds striking resemblance too to its fictional counterpart.
Aragog (courtesy Pottermore) on the left and Lycosa aragogi (courtesy Zootaxa) on the right.
The naming opportunity was apparently too good to pass up for the researchers. And incidentally, Aragog’s anatomy for Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was designed based on a wolf spider too.
Apart from the similarities between the two, Alireza Zamani, a graduate student of animal biosystematics at the University of Tehran in Iran, told Live Science, that naming the spider after Aragog was also a way of celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter.
Zamani co-wrote the study with Anton Nadolny, a taxonomist specializing in spiders, at the Institute of Marine Biological Research of Russian Academy of Sciences in Sevastopol, Russia.
The female spider was spotted by Iranian entomologist Alireza Naderi near its burrow in the mountainous region of Iran’s Kerman province. What’s more, Zamani said that Naderi had spotted the spider on April 26, 2016, which coincidentally was just six days ahead of Aragog’s death anniversary (April 20, 1997)!
The Lycosa aragogi has an inch-long body, excluding its legs. It also has two black and three white stripes of satae (hair)on its torso.
The researchers also said that the spider’s black satae on the appendages on its mouth give it a “charismatic look”.
Apart from Eriovixia gryffindori and Lycosa aragogi, a crab and a wasp too have been named after Harry Potter in the past.
A carnivorous wasp found in Thailand in 2015 was named ‘Ampulex dementor’. The wasp apparently stalks its prey in disguise and when it gets close, injects the prey with its venom, rendering it immobile.
The crab was named ‘Harryplax severus’ after Severus Snape. The milky yellow crab is found in deep waters in the US. It was so named because like Snape, it is one of the ‘most important secrets’.