Scientists in India have named a new species of spider after famed (fictitious) wizard Godric Gryffindor from JK Rowling’s Harry Potter novels due to its resemblance of Hogwarts’ magical Sorting Hat.
The new species, which measures just 7mm, has been named Eriovixia Gryffindori, after Gryffindor, one of the founding wizards of Hogwarts, and original owner of the hat used by the wizarding school to sort students into their houses.
"We are very excited to have found this new spider whose shape is very similar to the magical sorting hat worn by the wizard (Gryffindor) in Harry Potter,” lead author Javed Ahmed told the Times of India.
"As a youngster, I was very fond of reading the Harry Potter books. So, when I encountered this tiny spider, I thought of the magical hat," he said.
The new “fantastic beast” was discovered in the Kans forest area of Western Ghats, Karnataka by a team already responsible for discovering five new spider species in the last two years. Their study is published in the Indian Journal of Arachnology.
The tiny creature has a magical power of its own, too: camouflage. Its unusually shaped sub-triangular abdomen allows it to look like a dried leaf, which it hides amongst to avoid predators when it sleeps during the day as it is nocturnal.
Ahmed even shared his exciting discovery with JK Rowling on Twitter. With typical enthusiasm, Rowling tweeted in response “I'm truly honoured! Congratulations on discovering another #FantasticBeast!"
Discussing the name choice on Twitter with other Harry Potter fans, Ahmed suggested the possibility of naming another discovery after Aragog. For those of you who know what that means, we’re not sure whether we should be excited, or terrified.