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Researchers name spider after Harry Potter character

Eriovixia gryffindori
The spider has powers of its own, using its shape to camouflage itself in dried leaves. Photo: Twitter: Javed Ahmed
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A new species of spider has been named after the Hogwarts sorting hat in J.K Rowling’s Harry Potter novels, thanks to its peculiar shape.

Researchers in Mumbai formally dubbed the insect Eriovixia Gryffindori in the Indian Journal of Arachnology.

The spider earned the magical title thanks to its pronounced “sub-triangular abdomen”, which resembles the shape and colours of the Hogwarts sorting hat.

“This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artefact, the sorting hat, owned by the [fictitious] medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor,” the journal said.

Harry Potter
The name was derived from Godric Gryffindor, owner of the sorting hat in Harry Potter. Photo: Warner Bros. Studio

The naming was aimed at shining the spotlight on lesser-celebrated beasts and “draw attention to the fascinating, but often overlooked, world of invertebrates and their secret lives”.

Javed Ahmed, one of the researchers behind the paper, told The Times of India he was a huge Harry Potter fan.

“As a youngster, I was very fond of reading Harry Potter books. So, when I encountered this tiny spider, I thought of the magical hat,” he said.

Mr Ahmed shared the news with Rowling, who said she was honoured by the gesture, giving the creature’s name the tick of approval.

What do we know about the beast?

The Eriovixia Gryffindori spider was discovered in Western Ghats, a mountain range in Karnataka, south-west India.

The beast has powers of its own, using its triangular shape – resembling the shape of a magical hat – to camouflage into a dry leaf to hide from predators, while it sleeps during the day.

The nocturnal araneid measures just seven millimetres and has a hairy shell, spiny legs, and its trademark feature: a pointy, triangular abdomen.

This is the sixth new spider species discovered in the past two years by Mr Ahmed and his fellow researchers Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha Javagal.

Discussing the discovery and name choice on Twitter with fellow Harry Potter fans, Mr Ahmed was confident his team would be adding at least one more spider discovery to the list.

“We might name another cool spider after Aragog!”

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