(29 July 2013) While Dominic was in Laos filming an episode of Wild Things with Dr. Peter Jäger, spider expert at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, they discovered a previously unknown species of spider in a river cave. The Ctenus monaghani has now been introduced with its first description, and published in the scientific journal Zootaxa.
Dr. Peter Jäger said he dedicated this new spider species to Dominic Monaghan because of his great enthusiasm for inconspicuous and unpopular animals such as spiders in his new show “Wild Things”: “He places nature in the foreground in a very special manner”.
Ctenus is a spider genus with many representatives. The smallest of them are less than one centimetre in body length, while particularly large species can reach to more than 3 centimetres. The genus Ctenus belongs to the so-called wandering spiders, which roam along the jungle floor at night and catch their prey without a web.
Whoever is the first to discover a new species is allowed to name it. Its membership of a genus is determined necessarily by the physical features of the creature, but the species name – the second word of the term – can be chosen freely, subject to certain rules of nomenclature.
Ctenus monaghani © Peter Jäger/Senckenberg
As a lover of all things wild and a fan of spiders,” says Monaghan, “it is a real honour to have such a special creature named after my last name. The fact that it was found in Laos whilst making Wild Things makes it all the more special. Feel free to call me Spider-Man.”