'Harry Potter' and 'Game of Thrones' inspire new spider names

Researchers name seven new species after fictional spiders from "Harry Potter," "Game of Thrones," "Lord of the Rings," "Charlotte's Web" and more.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read
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The new species Ochyrocera atlachnacha hanging out in its web.

Igor Cizauskas

Some of literature's most famous arachnids have been honored by scientists, who've named newly discovered real-life spiders after them. 

Seven new species of spiders are introduced in a research article published Wednesday in the science journal ZooKeys by Antonio Brescovit,  Igor Cizauskas and Leandro Mota from Instituto Butantan, Sao Paulo.

The species were discovered in the caves of northern Brazil and belong to the same Neotropical genus Ochyrocera.

Although the new spiders were found deep in caves, they don't have typical physical characteristics of cave-dwelling spiders, such as loss of pigmentation or missing eyes. These spiders are no bigger than 2 millimeters (0.07 inches) and have six eyes.

The spiders' official names are Ochyrocera varys, Ochyrocera atlachnacha, Ochyrocera laracna, Ochyrocera aragogue, Ochyrocera misspider, Ochyrocera charlotte and Ochyrocera ungoliant.

Ochyrocera varys is named after Lord Varys, nicknamed The Spider, from George R. R. Martin's book series "A Song of Ice and Fire." 

Ochyrocera atlachnacha refers to the spider god Atlach-Nacha from H. P. Lovecraft's tales of horror. 

Not one but two species are named after characters from J. R. R. Tolkien's novels. Ochyrocera laracna is named after the giant spider Laracna (Shelob in English) who attacks Frodo and Sam on their way to Mordor in "The Two Towers."

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The new spider Ochyrocera aragogue is named after Aragog from "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets." 

Warner Bros. Pictures

Ochyrocera ungoliant is named after Laracna's mother Ungoliant. She shows up in "The Silmarillion," which takes place before "The Two Towers." Ungoliant translates as "Dark Spider" in the fictional Elvish language.

Ochyrocera aragogue refers to the giant talking spider Aragog who lives in the Forbidden Forest in J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets."

Ochyrocera misspider gets its name from David Kirk's popular children's series "Little Miss Spider."

Finally, Ochyrocera charlotte is named after one of the most famous literary spiders of all time -- Charlotte from E. B. White's classic book "Charlotte's Web."

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