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Spider: Magical ‘Harry Potter’ hat gets 8-legged namesake

ESF Top 10 New Species of 2017

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  • Eriovixia gryffindori
    Photo credit: Sumukha J. N.

  • Eriovixia gryffindori
    Photo credit: Sumukha J. N.

  • Eriovixia gryffindori
    Photo credit: Sumukha J. N.

  • Eriovixia gryffindori, showing resemblance to dried foliage
    Photo credit: Sumukha J. N.

About the Spider

Eriovixia gryffindori
Location: India

This tiny spider, less than 2 mm (a tenth of an inch) long, takes its name from the bewitched Sorting Hat in J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books. The shape of the spider’s body — conical, with a jaunty bend at the narrow tip, is reminiscent of the hat first owned by the famed wizard Godric Gryffindor. The scientific publication describing the discovery states the name is “an ode…for magic lost, and found, in an effort to draw attention to the fascinating, but oft overlooked world of invertebrates, and their secret lives.”

The spider is well camouflaged to resemble the dead, dry, brown leaves among which it hides during the day. Known from a single specimen, the species is believed to be nocturnal in forests of central Western Ghats, India, where evergreen and semi-evergreen vegetation is surrounded by deciduous trees. The spider builds a vertical, orb-shaped web. No male has yet been discovered.

Etymology Named for the fictional character Gryffindor in the Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling, due to its resemblance in shape to the wizard’s Sorting Hat

Type locality India: Karnataka: Shivamogga district, Hosanagara taluk.

Type Forest Training Institute, Chikhaldara, Amravati, India

Description Javed, A., Rajashree, K., and J. N. Sumukha. 2016. A new species of dry foliage mimicking Eriovixia Archer, 1951 from central Western Ghats, India (Araneae: Araneidae). Indian Journal of Arachnology5: 24-27.

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