Name a spider for World Science Festival Brisbane

27 March 2017

To celebrate the 2017 World Science Festival Brisbane, Queensland Museum is giving you a rare honour to be part of history and name a new species of spider.

During the 2016 Festival, the world was captivated by Dolomedes briangreenei, the surfing spider named in honour of World Science Festival co-founder and astrophysicist Brian Greene, but this year, Australia’s leading arachnologist Dr Robert Raven is handing the reigns to the public to find a name for a new species of water spider.

The new spider, which is part of the water spider family Pisauridae, can be described as quite delicate and ornate with a beautiful pattern on its back, it can be found in the vine thickets and rainforests near Canungra at the foot of the road on the way to Lamington.

“What makes this species even more special is that it has a very distinct colour pattern and quite different genitalia, which makes it quite easy to differentiate between others in the group,” Dr Raven said.

“It spends its days living under rocks and bark and emerges at night on the wet leaves to hunt.”

Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said the water spider species naming fit well with the one of the themes of the 2017 World Science Festival Brisbane, water and it was a special privilege.

“Naming a new species is a very special opportunity and an honour bestowed on a very few,” she said.

“The winning name will be decided by a panel of judges who will be looking for a name that captures the essence of not only the spider, but takes inspiration from the World Science Festival Brisbane, World Water Day or a Queensland connection.

As the head of Australia’s most active arachnological unit, Dr Raven and his team have described over 1000 new species of spider and he has a few tips when considering new names.

“It should not be unduly long and it should roll off the tongue,” Dr Raven said.

“If it is named after a female person it ends in ae, and if it is named after a male person it should end in an i. It is possible to make the name a random combination of letters or name it after a place, such as ‘Canungra’.”

Other things to consider: it cannot be rude, obscene or offensive and cannot be named after a corporation. A full list of terms and conditions can be found at

The competition is now open and closes at the conclusion of the final World Science Festival Brisbane event, which is the regional program in Chinchilla on 1 April 2017. Enter online at

Brisbane is the only city in the Asia-Pacific region to offer this amazing event, which will be hosted by Queensland Museum until 2021.

The World Science Festival Brisbane runs from 22 to 26 March: World Science Festival Brisbane is presented by Queensland Museum with generous support of our partners Tourism and Events Queensland, Brisbane Marketing, Griffith University, QUT, The University of Queensland, BHP Billiton Foundation, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, QPAC, Channel 7, ABC Brisbane, Radio National, JC Decaux, QGC, Inspiring Australia, Arup, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Google, ANSTO, C&K, QAGOMA, QIMR Berghofer, Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Queensland Theatre, South Bank Parklands, State Library of Queensland, Translational Research Institute and The Mantra Group.


Media Contact:
Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum Network 0417 741 710
Heidi Jones, Senior Media Officer, Queensland Museum Network 07 3842 9388