Rare Yellow Spider Named After David BowieA newly-discovered spider has been named after rock star David Bowie, in an effort to raise awareness about the number of arachnid species threatened with extinction.
The Heteropoda davidbowie is distinguished by its large size and yellow hair, and is only found in parts of Malaysia.
Bowie was apparently selected for the honour because of his musical contribution to arachnid world – the 1972 concept album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.
Peter Jäger, the German spider expert who discovered the Heteropoda davidbowie, said that naming spiders after celebrities helped draw attention to the marginal status of many species as human activity destroys their habitats.
Environmental authorities have traditionally proved reluctant to include spiders on lists of endangered animals, but campaigners like Mr Jäger argue that their decline undermines nature’s genetic diversity.
“It is working against time,” he told The Observer. “We are also quickly losing genetic resources that have evolved over more than 300 million years.”
Last year the Rameshwaram Parachute Spider was among thousands of creatures included on a “red list” of endangered species complied by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Less than 500 of the spiders are though to remain, as their woodland habitats on the Indian island of Rameshwaram, close to Sri Lanka, are cleared to make room for hotels and tourist resorts.