Scientists Name New Spider After Harry Potter Sorting Hat

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A new species of spider discovered in the Indian forest has been given a Harry Potter-inspired name, as its unique back makes it look like the sorting hat used to assign wizards into houses at Hogwarts. The arachnid, which has been given the scientific name Eriovixia Gryffindori, is just under seven millimeters in length.

“As a youngster, I was very fond of reading Harry Potter books,” researcher Javed Ahmed said in an interview published Sunday. “So, when I encountered this tiny spider, I thought of the magical hat.”

The team, which also included Rajashree Khalap and Sumukha Javagal, has a lot to be proud of. Together, they have discovered five new spider species in the past two years.

The findings, published in the Indian Journal of Arachnology, were made in the Kans forest area of Karnataka, a southwestern state of India. The researchers found that the spider uses its dried leaf appearance during the day to disguise itself from foes.

The sorting hat played a crucial role in the book, used to decide which house is most appropriate for new students based on their attributes. The animated hat speaks through its folds in the film’s depiction, and famously spends a long scene struggling over which house to place Harry Potter into. The hat believes Harry “could be great” in Slytherin, but Harry sees his future elsewhere, touching on one of the series’ core tensions at an early stage.

Rowling loved it, commending the team on their discovery of a “fantastic beast,” a reference to her new film:

No word on whether the spider has been assigned a Hogwarts house yet.

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