What do you call a spider that looks eerily similar to the sorting hat of the Harry Potter books? You officially name it Eriovixia gryffindori !
A new spider species discovered by Mumbai researchers in the Central Western Ghats of Karnataka has been named after the fictitious character Godric Gryffindor in the J K Rowling books after the scientists found that the spider was a look alike of the hat that the young wizards wore in the books.
The credit for this discovery goes to researchers and naturalists Javed Ahmed, Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha Javagal. This is the same team that discovered five new species of spiders from India earlier this year.
The discovery was made in the Kan forests of Karnataka. The new spider is only 7 mm long but is unusual in its appearance. The scientists believe that this is an adaptation to look like a leaf and merge into its surroundings dried foliage during daylight.
Mark Elgar, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Melbourne’s School of BioSciences told CNN, that the spider is “probably about half the length of the fingernail on your little finger.”
“It’s camouflaged against the leafy background — that would suggest to me that it is a diurnal, or day-hunting, spider, for the simple reason that if it only came out at night, it wouldn’t need to look like the background because there’s no light,” Elgar told CNN.
He added that it would eat insects and spiders smaller than itself.
Ahmed who is a huge Harry Potter fan says he saw the spider and instantly thought of the sorting hat the wizards wore.
“As a youngster, I was very fond of reading Harry Potter books. So, when I encountered this tiny spider, I thought of the magical hat,” he said.
In response to the spider’s naming, the woman who dreamed up the Harry Potter universe, author J.K. Rowling, tweeted: “I’m truly honored!”
The team says the spider is a new member of the Eriovixia genus, which contains roughly 20 other spiders that all spin an orb-like web and are found throughout Asia and Africa.
The finding was published on Saturday in the Indian Journal of Arachnology.
The team wrote,
“This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artefact, the sorting hat, owned by the (fictitious) medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and stemming from the powerful imagination of J.K. Rowling.
An ode from the authors, for magic lost, and found, in an effort to draw attention to the fascinating, but oft overlooked world of invertebrates, and their secret lives.”
While the tribute to the book seems fine, hopefully this would not send people looking for the spider to make it a pet as someone suggested on social media!