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The Hobbit and his spider

Date:
July 29, 2013
Source:
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum
Summary:
A spider expert has discovered further previously unknown spider species in Laos. One of the spiders, now described for the first time, crawled across his path during the filming of a nature documentary.

Ctenus monaghani.
Credit: Copyright Peter Jäger/Senckenberg

The spider expert at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Peter Jäger, has discovered further previously unknown spider species in Laos. One of the spiders, now described for the first time, crawled across his path during the filming of Dominic Monaghan’s nature documentary “Wild Things”, which is why he named it after the Berlin-born actor: Ctenus monaghani. The new spider species was introduced with its first description, published in the scientific journal Zootaxa.

A famous name for a little creepy crawly: When Dr. Peter Jäger dedicates his new, eight-legged discovery to a celebrity, there is sure to be a good reason. In the case of Ctenus monaghani it is the great enthusiasm of Dominic Monaghan which even extended to inconspicuous and unpopular animals such as spiders in his new show “Wild Things”: “He places nature in the foreground in a very special manner,” says Jäger, when explaining the dedication of the new spider species.

For good measure, Jäger discovered the spider on a trip on which he was not only an expert consultant to the “Wild Things” team in the forests and caves of Laos, but the spider expert also appeared in front of the camera with the actor in a river cave. Dominic Monaghan therefore met his eight-legged namesake in its natural habitat.

“Wild Things” has not yet been broadcast in Germany. The series produced by Cream Productions was shown on BBC America and Channel 5 in Canada. The German public knows Dominic Monaghan better for his roles in the film version of The Lord of the Rings (Hobbit Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybock) and the television series Lost (Charlie Pace).

Ctenus is a spider genus with many representatives. The smallest of them are less than one centimetre in body length, while particularly large species can reach to more than 3 centimetres. The genus Ctenus belongs to the so-called wandering spiders, which roam along the jungle floor at night and catch their prey without a web.  

Whoever is the first to discover a new species is allowed to name it. Its membership of a genus is determined necessarily by the physical features of the creature, but the species name – the second word of the term – can be chosen freely, subject to certain rules of nomenclature.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jäger, P. Ctenus monaghani spec. nov., a nocturnal hunter from the forest floor in Laos (Araneae: Ctenidae). Zootaxa, 3670 (1): 091%u2013093 DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3670.1

Cite This Page:

Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. "The Hobbit and his spider." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729111652.htm>.
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. (2013, July 29). The Hobbit and his spider. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729111652.htm
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum. "The Hobbit and his spider." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130729111652.htm (accessed April 18, 2014).

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