Classics Du Jour


New Spider Species Named After Members of Def Leppard, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, and Angra

Def Leppard
Def Leppard

A Brazilian scientist has discovered four new species of spiders and named them after members of Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Def Leppard, and Brazilian band Angra.

Biologist Cristina Rheims is a researcher at Instituto Butantan – Sao Paulo’s biological research – where she specializes in spider taxonomy and classifying spider specimens collected in the field or held at research institutions and museums. She also happens to be a huge fan of hard rock and heavy metal. “This is the kind of music I like and I usually listen to,” she said (via Public Radio International).

The four new species belong to the Sparianthinae family of spiders, which can be found in the Neotropical region from southern Mexico to Argentina, and to the new genus, “Extraordinarius,” which Rheims created.

Naming spiders species is ruled by an international code of nomenclature, but part of the name is also left to researchers’ creativity.

Extraordinarius brucedickinsoni, Extraordinarius klausmeinei, Extraordinarius rickalleni, and Extraordinarius andrematosi are now spider species named after Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, Scorpions’ Klaus Meine, Leppard’s Rick Allen, and Angra’s André Matos.

“I’ve always wanted to honor Rick Allen because I think he’s an example,” Rheims said. “You have a drummer that loses an arm, and he continues his career and he learns how to play with only one arm. So he’s one of the Extraordinarius as well.”

Rheims, who said she has always enjoyed choosing interesting and creative names for newly discovered species, added, “For my Amazonian specimens, I chose the main characters from Brazilian legends, and then I had another genus from Mexico and I decided to go with demons.”

Responding to the news, Allen said: “I am honored! Thank you, Cristina Rheims! You rock!”

The new spider species are between one and two centimeters long, nocturnal and pose no danger to humans.

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