Indian naturalists just discovered a spider in the Western Ghats that looks like it belongs in the J.K.Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Javed Ahmed, Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha J.N were exploring the Western Ghats in Karnataka, more specifically the Shivamogga district, home to a biodiversity hotspot that has been preserved for generations by the villagers of the area, when they chanced upon a strange hat shaped spider. It was brown, triangular in shape and instantly reminded them of the Sorting Hat in the beloved Harry Potter series.
After the scientists trapped the spider, examined and dissected it, the trio realised that they had discovered a new species, which meant that the task of naming fell on them. Since they were Harry Potter fans, they named it Eriovixia gryffindori.
In a study of the spider which was published in the Indian Journal of Arachnology, the three researchers wrote, This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artifact, 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 Ms. J.K. Rowling, wordsmith extraordinaire, as presented in her beloved series of books, featuring everyone’s favourite boy-wizard, Harry Potter. 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.
Ahmed thought that Harry Potter inspired name would be a “wonderful way to draw attention to an oft neglected group of organisms,” and Khalap “enthusiastically approved.” Apparently, so did Rowling, who responded to a tweet by Ahmed by stating that she was truly honoured and congratulated him on discovering another “Fantastic Beast.”
E. gryffindori, is only 7 mm in length and its curious shape allows the spider to camouflage itself among the thick vegetation in the Western Ghats Mountains. Since their research began two years ago, this is the sixth spider that they have discovered. Another one they discovered on this trip resembles a lady bird. In his interview with Earth Touch, Ahmed joked about a different Rowling character, Aragog, an enormous, hairy, talking spider that lives in the Forbidden Forest at Hogwarts.“We might name another cool spider after Aragog!” he said.