It’s New Spider Day. While not quite as exciting as New Frog Day, which is always a highlight when it hops into view, New Spider Day is another, slightly spookier opportunity to celebrate the incredible ability of Earth’s animals to persevere as their shit-ape neighbors continually work to destroy their mutual home. Now, on this New Spider Day, we have a few dozen renamed arachnids to show off, a few of which are named after author Neil Gaiman and musicians Brandi Carlile and Peter Gabriel.
A journal article called, memorably, “Taxonomic revision of the New World members of the trapdoor spider genus Ummidia Thorell (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Halonoproctidae),” details the process that led scientists Rebecca L. Godwin and Jason E. Bond to recategorize and rename 33 species of spider that live throughout the Americas.
Joining previous New Spider Day stars, like one named after the Harry Potter sorting hat and a Johnny Cash tarantula, a few of the most notable trapdoor spiders include Virginia’s Ummidia neilgaimani, named after noted spider-fancier and one of Dr. Godwin’s favorite authors, Neil Gaiman. There’s also Yucatán, Mexico’s Ummidia brandicarlileae, which got its name for musician Brandi Carlile and her Yucatán-based Girls Just Wanna Weekend Festival as well as the Peter Gabriel-named Ummidia gabrieli, whose point of origin (or ... genesis) is in California. Some of the other spiders are named for their habitat, for fellow scientist Dr. Paula Cushing, and for Bessie Coleman, who is both the first Indigenous person and the first Black American woman to earn a pilot’s license.
The Pensoft publisher blog has interviewed Dr. Godwin, rounded up information on the new spiders, and completed all of this with some lovely close-up photos perfect for the creatures to use in future casting calls. In the post, Dr. Godwin says that “anything we can do to increase people’s interest in the diversity around them is worthwhile and giving species names that people recognize but that still have relevant meaning is one way to do that.”
[via Boing Boing]
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