Tom Hardy and his Marvel character Venom have given a name to a newly discovered Australian spider. The genus Venomius and its only current species Venomius Tomhardyi They were described after an expedition to Tasmania.
Do you think scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Researchers Giullia Rossi, Pedro Castanheira and Volker Framenau from Murdoch University (Perth, Australia) teamed up with Renner Baptista from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to describe the new genus of orb spiders. which is published in the open access journal Evolutionary Systematics.
Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, an anti-hero closely linked to Spider-Man, in two Marvel films, giving his name to the new genre’s only species. The distinctive black spots on the spider’s abdomen reminded scientists of Venom’s head, which inspired them to choose the unusual name.
The genus belongs to the spider family Araneidae, which builds vertical circular webs to capture its prey. Although similar to the genus Phonognatha in that both lack tubercles on their abdomen, the newly described spiders are distinguished by their behavior of creating silk-lined holes in tree branches for shelter, as well as their different genitalia.
The holotype of the new species was discovered and subsequently preserved at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery after an expedition to Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The researchers examined about 12,000 records from Australian and overseas institutions.
Dr. Pedro Castanheira commented on the study in general terms: “This is part of a long-term survey aimed at documenting the entire Australian spider fauna, which will be extremely important for conservation management plans and the continuation of the ten-year plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand.
“It is really important to continue to describe new spiders to assess the full biodiversity of these predators in Australia,” added study lead author MSc Giullia Rossi.
Venomius, a new monotypic genus of Australian orb spiders (Araneae, Araneidae)