A new species of spider is having its moment on the arachnid world stage thanks to a certain boy wizard.
Discovered by scientists in a mountainous region of southwestern India, the spider uses its bizarre shape to mimic dried leaves and hide from predators. Examined through the lens of pop culture, however, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the magical sorting hat from the "Harry Potter" franchise.
In a paper announcing the new species, designated Eriovixia gryffindori, the scientists elegantly explained the inspiration behind the spider's name. (As you'll find, it's readily apparent that they're fans of author J.K. Rowling's wizarding world.)
"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 favorite boy-wizard, Harry Potter," they write. "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."
As shown in the image below, the "Sorting Hat Spider" uses its unique form to seamlessly blend in with dried-up foliage.
In an interview with the BBC, lead scientist Javed Ahmed said Rowling had expressed enthusiastic gratitude for the choice of name.
"She is absolutely thrilled, she said she was honored and she congratulated us," he said.