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New Species of 'Ambush Predators' Named After Barack Obama and Other Iconic People (See If You Can Guess Who's Who)


“They wait at burrow entrances at night, until some dull-witted insect comes over."

A. barackobamai (Photo: Jason Bond)

An arachnid researcher recently identified 33 new species of trapdoor spiders (genus Aptostichus). You might recognize the inspiration for some of the eight-legged creatures' Latin names.

Here are a few:

  • A. barackobamai
  • A. bonoi
  • A. chavezi
  • A. dorothealangeae

A. barackobamai (Photo: Jason Bond)

Did you guess who was who? Perhaps the first and last one in the list were easier -- President Barack Obama and Depression-era photographer Dorothea Lange. The middle two represent U2's lead singer Bono and activist Cesar Chavez.

Try your hand at these two celebrities, which were discovered ahead of this new list of 33:

  • A. stephencolberti
  • A. angelinajolieae

A view of A. stephencoberti from many angles. (Image: Jason Bond)

The taxonomic fun the Auburn University arachnologist Jason Bond was having didn't stop at people either. Here are a couple other species with which he had a sense of humor.

  • A. aguacaliente (agua caliente or "hot water" in Spanish)
  • A. sarlacc (Star Wars monster the Sarlacc H/T Smithsonian Magazine for pointing this one out)

As for the spiders themselves, Bond described them as "ambush predators," according to Wired.

“They wait at burrow entrances at night, until some dull-witted insect comes over. Then they jump out, bite it, and take it to their burrow. This particular group, they pack its carcass down into the bottom of the burrow," Wired reported Bond saying.

The whole of Bond's study was published last week in Zoo Keys.

(H/T: Daily Mail)

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