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A team of scientists thought there was something familiar about a new species of spider that they discovered in the mountains of southern India. The insect looked surprisingly like the sorting hat used in J.K. Rowling’s famed Harry Potter series.
The spider’s "sub-triangular abdomen" gave it a distinctive cone shape. Combined with its inconspicuous brown coloring, the spider looks remarkably like the hat used to sort students of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry into the appropriate school houses.
The researchers, who told The Washington Post that they are Rowling fans particularly enamored with “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” gave the arachnid a Potter-themed name: Eriovixia gryffindori.
In a paper published in the Indian Journal of Arachnology, the scientists who found the spider wrote that the name is “an ode from the authors for magic lost, and found, in an effort to draw attention to the fascinating but oft overlooked world of invertebrates and their secret lives.”
Javed Ahmed, the lead author of the paper, told the Earth Touch News Network the 7mm spider mimics dead leaves in the Western Ghats mountain range.
"Naming the spider after a beloved series icon has certainly made a lot of people take notice," Ahmed told the news site. "Once people realize just how fascinating, unique and essential these wonderful organisms are, the (unfounded) fear and loathing vanishes."
The spider has gotten a great deal of attention online – including from Rowling herself.
On Twitter the author wrote that was "truly honored" by the name choice.
"Congratulations on discovering another 'fantastic beast!'" she wrote in a tweet to Ahmed.