Scientists that discovered a new species have decided to name it after the Lord of the Rings character with same dwelling properties.
The caves near the town of Monjolos in Minas Gerais, in south eastern Brazil has coughed up yet another species of arachnid from its caves. The scientists found an eyeless, cave-dwelling harvestman.
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Harvestmen are arachnids but cannot be categorized as spiders. They are from a different order (Opiliones). Harvestmen biology consists of a single pair of eyes and a fused body structure that differs from spiders.
They are often perceived as spiders because they superficially resemble them. Harvestmen are a diverse group of more than 6,500 species. They are often scavengers or omnivores, and those that are hunters aren’t considered dangerous to people because they lack venom and sharp teeth.
The new species has been named after the Lord of the Rings character that shares the same cave dwelling features as this new species. Smeagol, the hobbit that dwells in the caves for years obsessing over the ring and becomes pale and spidery Gollum, just like the spider.
Iandumoema smeagol is the biological name given to this new species. The cave it calls home is not protected, leading the Brazilian scientists who described it noting that it could be vulnerable to extinction, since it would be difficult for the animal to spread to other areas.
Christopher Buddle of Canada's McGill University, said that the species has got a rather nifty name—a name that resonates with the public—and its biology is quite interesting as a secretive cave-dweller. He added that we are slowly but surely picking away at discovering and naming our earth’s biodiversity.
Norman I. Platnick, an arachnologist with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, adds that the genus, Iandumoema, appears to occur only in caves. This discovery isn’t all that unusual, he says.
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This study was published on Wednesday in the journal ZooKeys.