New arachnid species gets name inspired by ‘Lord of the Rings’

Rio de Janeiro, Nov 25 (IANS/EFE) An eyeless, cave-dwelling arachnid species recently discovered by Brazilian scientists has been named “Smeagol” in honour of a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”, the Sao Paulo State Research Foundation (Fapesp) said.

Iandumoema smeagol belongs to the opiliones (harvestmen) order of the arachnid class, distant relatives of spiders but different from them due to the lack of narrow waists and poison glands.

Smeagol is the third species of Iandumoema found in the world and is different from the two others, also cave dwellers, because of the absence of eyes, said Fapesp, which funded the research project.

The new opilione species was officially described in an article published by the scientific journal ZooKeys and authored by biologists Ricardo Pinto da Rocha, Rafael Fonseca Ferreira and Maria Elina Bichuette, of Sao Carlos Federal University and the University of Sao Paulo.

“I love ‘The Lord of the Rings.’ I read the novel before watching the movies. I always wanted to give an animal the name of one of the saga’s characters,” Bichuette said in a statement posted on the Fapesp website.

In the Tolkien saga, Smeagol is the hobbit who finds the world’s most powerful ring and under the object’s spell hides for years in a cave, developing big eyes to see in the dark and becoming known as Gollum.



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