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A new spider species has been named after a Harry Potter character

A new wolf spider crab species spotted in Iran has been named after Aragog – the giant, talking arachnid who was Hagrid’s friend.

books Updated: Jul 09, 2017 13:41 IST
Professor Horace Slughorn , Hagrid and Harry Potter at Aragog’s funeral in a still from the seventh film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009).
Professor Horace Slughorn , Hagrid and Harry Potter at Aragog’s funeral in a still from the seventh film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009). (IMDb.com)

Potterheads, take note! A wolf spider crab species has been named after Aragog – the giant, talking arachnid from J K Rowling’s popular fantasy Harry Potter series.

Researchers, including those from University of Tehran in Iran, have named the newfound spider ‘Lycosa aragogi’ which 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, referring to the events that occur in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

The study was published in the journal Zootaxa.

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