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Newly discovered spider species has found a namesake in a Harry Potter character! – Read

New Delhi: This is something that would totally amuse Harry Potter fanatics. Looks like the trend of naming newly discovered species of animals and insects – land or marine – after famous people – real or fictional – won’t be dying out soon.

After a crab species native to the coral reefs off the coast of Guam was named after JK Rowling’s creation, a spider species has been named ‘Lycosa aragogi’ – after ‘Aragog’, the giant arachnid in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – by researchers including those from University of Tehran in Iran.

The newfound wolf spider crab species has a one inch long body (excluding the legs), with two black and three white stripes of setae, or hairs, on its upper body.

The arachnid also has black setae on the appendages by its mouth, ‘giving the spider a charismatic look,’ while its abdomen is covered with black and white setae.

“The animatronic puppet created for the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’ was based on the anatomy of a wolf spider,” said Alireza Zamani, from the University of Tehran.

“We found out that there was an extreme similarity between our spider and Aragog as he was depicted in the second film,” Zamani said.

“Since it was also the 20th anniversary of the series, we thought it might be a good idea and celebration of this wonderful franchise,” Zamani was quoted as saying by ‘Live Science’.

The spider was spotted in a mountainous region of southeastern Iran’s Kerman Province.

Large wolf spiders do not build webs, but stay in their burrows during the day and hunt at nighttime, stalking their prey. Most live for about three years, Zamani said.

Wolf spiders carry their egg sacs on their bodies and periodically expose the developing spiders to light and heat from the sun for better development.

Once the spiderlings are born, the mother keeps them on her back and feeds them for the first few weeks, Zamani said.

“This nurturing behaviour is not so different from that of Aragog, who ‘loved his colony of ‘Acromantulas’ – a fictional species of spider – so much he wouldn’t stop them from devouring Harry Potter and Ron Weasley,” Zamani said.

The study was published in the journal Zootaxa.

PTI