Every year scientists manage to stumble across at least a few dozen or so new insect species. Some of them are pretty harmless. Some look harmless and aren’t. Some look terrifying, have a terrifying name, and are terrifyingly dangerous. What struck me about the most recent batch was the numerous new species named after fantasy characters from popular fantasy novels. They don’t seem to be incredibly dangerous despite their fantastical names that suggest otherwise. So, why exactly were these insects named after fire breathing dragons and powerful wizards? You be the judge.
One scientist, who also happens to be a huge “Game of Thrones” fan, came across a new species of ant that has a spiny back. When she saw these spines, she immediately thought it looked a little bit like a dragon. And not just any dragon, but the fierce Drogon, a black dragon featured in George R. R. Martins popular “Game of Thrones” series, so she decided to name the new species Pheidole drogon after her favorite fictional dragon. Of course, this “dragon” ant is much smaller in size, and the spines on its back are actually designed to act as an anchor for the ant’s large muscles.
Magic is in the air it seems when it comes to the newest insect species we’ve been discovering. Another new species was named after a magical fictional character. The newly discovered Eriovixia gryffindori spider is very tiny and strongly resembles a wizard’s hat. That’s probably why the scientist that discovered the spider named it after Godric Gryffindor, the wizard that first owned the Sorting Hat, which bears a striking resemblance to the new spider, from J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. The spider’s hat-like shape actually acts as the perfect camouflage for the spider on the brown, dried up leaves that it tends to live on or near.
The researchers claimed that the spider’s 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.” These magical names and wistful quotes make me think that these intelligent, serious scientists have a whimsical side to them, a secret inner child filled with wonder at the world around them that still believes in magic.
Why do you think these scientists chose the names they did for these new species?Tags: New Terrifying Insects Discovered This Year!