New spider named after Harry Potter character: Find out how JK Rowling reacted

The newly discovered spider has a pointy conical abdomen that resembles the Sorting Hat from the 'Harry Potter' series.

Eriovixia Gryffindori
Eriovixia Gryffindori

A new species of spider discovered by researchers in Mumbai, India, has a striking connection to the world of 'Harry Potter.' It looks like the Sorting Hat of Godric Gryffindor and the spider has been named 'Eriovixia Gryffindori.'

The less than 7mm long new species is a dry foliage mimicking 'Eriovixia archer,' mentions the report in the Indian Journal of Arachnology. The finding was published on Saturday, 10 December, notes an article in The Times of India (TOI) newspaper. The species was discovered in the 'Kans' forestland of central Western Ghats of Karnataka in India, by Javed Ahmed, Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha J.N.

"This uniquely shaped spider derives its name from the fabulous, sentient magical artifact, the sorting hat, owned by the (fictitious) medieval wizard Godric Gryffindor, one of the four founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and stemming from the powerful imagination of Ms. J. K. Rowling, wordsmith extraordinaire, as presented in her beloved series of books, featuring everyone's favorite boy-wizard, Harry Potter," reads a description of the arachnid, from the journal.

Javed Ahmed tweeted this finding to author J.K Rowling. "@jk_rowling We named a spider, after the sorting hat, from the films! :) Meet Eriovixia gryffindori," said Ahmed, to which Rowling replied "@curiocritters I'm truly honoured! Congratulations on discovering another #FantasticBeast!"

Speaking to TOI, Ahmed said he was an admirer of Rowling's magical world, especially 'Harry Potter,' while growing up. Being a fan of the stories, he did not miss a striking visual similarity of the critter with Godric Gryffindor's Sorting Hat, which puts young Harry Potter in the Gryffindor house. "As a youngster, I was very fond of reading Harry Potter books. So, when I encountered this tiny spider, I thought of the magical hat," the researcher said.

Ahmed explained that its pointy conical abdomen is meant to mimick a dried leaf; a defense mechanism to avoid predators. Indeed, it's a rather odd looking spider and in a dense jungle would be rather hard to spot, were it not for its similarity to that sentient hat in the films starring Daniel Radcliffe.

While it's natural to assume that a spider being named after a Harry Potter character should have been called Aragog, after Hagrid's monstrous eight-legged friend, the visual similarities to the Sorting Hat were too obvious to have been avoided. But Aragog fans need not be disappointed just yet. As pointed out, while discussing with fans about the name choice of the new spider, Javed Ahmed revealed they "might name another cool spider after Aragog!"

This article was first published on December 12, 2016