It is always exciting when scientists discover new species of insects and animals. Just knowing that we have found a creature that we didn’t know existed before is mind-boggling. But, what can make these findings even more fun is when they are named in honor of famous actors, authors, and other celebrities. It allows the rest of the general public to feel a little bit closer to the finding when they can recognize their favorite character from the Lord of the Rings in the species’ name. Nine new species of “goblin spiders” were just discovered in Sri Lanka, six of which have been named after “goblins” from the popular children’s books by Enid Blyton.
The new species of spiders belong to a family of spiders called “goblin spiders”, which are actually rather cute and known for being extremely small, usually growing no bigger than one to three millimeters in length. Six of the new species have been named Silhouettella snippy, Silhouettella tiggy, Cavisternum bom, Ischnothyreus chippy, Pelicinus snooky, and Pelicinus tumpy. These names all come from characters out of Enid Blyton’s children’s books also featuring “goblins.” One of these characters is Snooky, a “naughty little goblin” featured in the book “The Firework Goblins.” You might also notice the goblins Bom and Tumpy from “The Goblin Looking Glass” are also included in the new species names.
The spiders were discovered by arachnologist Suresh Benjamin of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies in Sri Lanka and his team of researchers. So, why the names based on characters in children’s books? Benjamin’s son and daughter discovered a bunch of Enid Blyton’s books while playing at their grandparent’s house. After bringing the books home, they asked their father to read them, and their love of these classic children’s books began with his reading of the story “The Firework Goblins.” The tiny goblin spiders and their family name inspired Benjamin to turn to those same children’s books when they were naming the new species.
If you discovered a new species of insect or arachnid, what would you want to name it and would you name it after a favorite person or character in a movie or book?