These four new species of spider are named after heavy metal legends

Spiders named after Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Scorpions and Viper band members

By Angela Garrity, Guest blogger

Arachnophobia is a true fear for those who have it. Eight-legged freaks will have some screaming and running to the hills if one gets too close. Fortunately, this was not the case for Brazilian biologist Christina Rheims, whose specialty is spiders, at Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo. 

Four small spiders, named after heavy metal legends, are shown under a microscope
Photo: PRI

According to PRI, Rheims prefers heavy metal and discovered four new species of spiders — Extraordinarius bruceickinsoni, Extraordinarius klausmeinei, Extraordinarius rickalleni and Extraordinarius andrematosi

Notice the pattern yet? The creepy crawlies are named after Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, Rick Allen of Def Leppard, Klaus Meine of Scorpions and Brazilian singer Andre Matos of Viper/Angra/Shaman/etc. — all because Rheims is a metal head. 

“This is the kind of music I like and I usually listen to,” says Rheims. 

The new species are 1 to 2 centimeters in length, nocturnal and not dangerous to humans. That’s a relief to know because some of these animals are truly dangerous beauties. 

All of these newly discovered spider species belong to the Sparianthinae family of spiders, which occurs in the Neotropical region from southern Mexico to Argentina, and to the new genus, "Extraordinarius," which Rheims created.

Rheims specialty? Spider taxonomy and spider classification. She has selected names for more than 200 new species of spinners. 

Naming spider species is ruled by an international code of nomenclature, but part of the name is left to researchers' creativity. Rheims says she enjoys researching and finding interesting names for the arachnids. Just another day at the zoo, so to speak.

Klaus Meine learned about the honor of his namesake and gave his approval via social media. He also requested an official certificate from Rheims, which she created and signed.

“I like to joke that now he has my autograph,” Rheims said.

We are just thankful she didn’t include a spider specimen. 

Related: Heavy metal fans are happier, according to science