Dominic Monaghan, best known for his role of hobbit Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybock in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy, is the inspiration for a new species of spider, Ctenus monaghani.

The honor is fitting as the 36-year-old is an avid nature lover and has a tremendous interest in insects and reptiles. Dr. Peter Jäger, a spider expert at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, discovered the new species while serving as a consultant for Monaghan's new BBC series "Wild Things". According to the AlphaGalileo Foundation, the spider literally crawled across Jäger's path while he was with the crew filming in Laos. He says he decided to name it after the actor because of his enthusiasm and regard for the world's less popular creatures. 

“He places nature in the foreground in a very special manner,” Jäger explained. 

Reviews of "Wild Things," which aired on the BBC earlier this year, back up Jäger's zeal, with The Hollywood Reporter calling the star "a great host" and "a lot of fun." 

"Monaghan isn't just enthusiastic about the idea of, say, handling a giant python in the wild — he actually goes after it," writes Allison Keene. "Without pause, he will scale suddenly and quickly up a tree to let the enormous snake glide over him as he gushes about its beauty. In each episode, Monaghan has a mission to find some terrible creature (in the first two episodes he's after a giant water bug in Vietnam, followed by a frighteningly large Huntsman spider in Laos), but he also speaks impressively, and extemporaneously, about other creatures (particularly snakes and insects) found along the way."

Check out Dom exploring a cave in Venezuela, searching for the world's largest centipede, below. 

Related on MNN: 10 of the biggest insects in the world

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

New spider named for 'Lord of the Rings' star
Dominic Monaghan receives the honor after a researcher discovered the new spider species while consulting on the actor's new nature series.