There is now an arachnid named after a 'LOTR' character, because yes
Sometimes, the universe gives you precisely what you desire, if what you desire is a new breed of the creepy crawl-y ilk with a fantastically nerdy name. That’s right, folks: an actual breed of arachnid has been named after a LOTR character!
Before you go telling people that Shelob now exists IRL, just wait: this eight-legged friend isn’t named after the enormous spider that almost makes a snack out of Frodo. We know: weird, right?
HOWEVER, this arachnid, a new species of opiliones—you might know them as harvestmen or daddy longlegs—IS named after another character that stumbles into Shelob’s lair (then manages to save himself by promising to bring her tastier fare): our good ole’ friend, Smeagol.
That’s right, precioussss: according to The Washington Post, the new breed is officially called Iandumoema smeagol! This arachnid (which is, just fyi, NOT a spider) is subterranean, much like our ring-coveting friend. However, the arachnid, unlike the character, never leaves its damp, homey little cave.
Arachnid-smeagol is a unique, pale yellow color which is both really cool and quite strange. This is due to its cave-dwelling nature; the spider might be a darker color due to melanistic pigmentation if it needed protection from the sun. Smeagol the character is similarly pallid, despite the fact that he does venture out into daylight out of covetous necessity. What’s somewhat ironic is that our newly named, eight-legged friend is located in Brazil—a rather sunny place.
Also, the new smeagol is actually eye-less! Which makes sense, since it’s always in the dark, so it may have evolved after a number of generations living this way.
Unfortunately, this super-cool critter is potentially in danger of extinction—it’s probably unable to adapt to life anywhere outside the cave and likely can’t travel to any other habitat. The researchers who discovered Iandumoema smeagol are currently figuring out what to do about this conundrum.
(Image via New Line Cinema)