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Meet Australia’s newest spider

17 June 2020

What do Sir David Attenborough, Dame Judi Dench and Li Cunxin all have in common? They have a spider named in their honour, and now Brisbane local and environmentalist Marion Goward will join their ranks.

Marion Goward, the Brisbane coordinator for the community organisation ‘Men of the Trees’, was nominated by Rebecca Williams in a competition run by Queensland Museum during their Spiders – The Exhibition show to name a new species of Eastern Wishbone Spider.

More than 6,000 entries were submitted to name the spider that was discovered by Queensland Museum Principal Curator of Arachnology Dr Michael Rix in the D’Aguilar Range north of Brisbane.

Queensland Museum Network CEO Dr Jim Thompson said visitors did not disappoint with their creativity in naming choices, although there were a few surprising nominations.

“We were overwhelmed with nominations, and with 6,115 entries, there were plenty of considered and interesting nominees from the fields of science, sport and celebrities in the finals, and of course, we received almost 100 different variations of the name Spider McSpiderface in the competition,” Dr Thompson said.

“That means close to 10 per cent of the 70,573 visitors to the exhibition took time to submit a name in the competition.”

The stunning black Eastern Wishbone spider with honey-red legs received a wide range of name suggestions, with many drawing inspiration from the spiders in the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings franchises, Aragog and Shelob, while funny puns kept judges amused with Karl Spidernovic, Frank Silknatra, Scooby Boo and Winston Spiderhill all receiving nominations.

Spiderman movies and characters also served as inspiration including names like Spiderman, Peter Parker, Stan Lee and actors Tobey Maguire, Tom Holland and Andrew Garfield, and a few entries confused their Spidermans with their Batmans and Dark Knights.

Dr Rix said the judging panel had a tough time whittling down the shortlist but ultimately chose Marion Goward, who was nominated by Rebecca Williams because of her long-term commitment to bushcare and environmental restoration work in Brisbane.

“Some of the shortlisted nominations included Brisbane science teacher, Mr Luke Emlyn-Jones, spider venom researcher Professor Glenn King and tennis star Ash Barty, but ultimately we chose Marion Goward as the winning nomination because of her outstanding community work with Men of the Trees, and her dedication to conservation and the environment,” Dr Rix said.

“As an arachnologist it was amazing to see how enthusiastically people engaged with the science behind naming a new species, and it was also lovely to see a long list of family members and friends being nominated for having had a positive impact on peoples’ lives.

“To make the name truly official, we will now submit it with a scientific paper to be peer-reviewed and once published, this Eastern Wishbone Spider will have its official identity.”

Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts Leeanne Enoch said the competition offered fascinating insights into some amazing creatures.

“The competition was a fun way for people to learn more about spiders, the work of Queensland Museum, and the important job taxonomists do,” Minister Enoch said.

“More animal species call Queensland home than anywhere else in Australia, so it is no surprise the arachnology team at Queensland Museum have described more than 1,000 species of spider, which is close to a third of all named spiders in Australia.”

Spiders – The Exhibition was developed and toured by the Australian Museum and Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre.

Prior to its early closure on 23 March due to COVID-19, Spiders – The Exhibition had 70, 573 visitors.

To learn more about spiders and meet the experts, contact Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre or visit www.qm.qld.gov.au

The nominations and the numbers…

Take a look at a breakdown of some of the more notable nominations for this new species of spider.

Total Entries: 6,115

Most popular:

Spidey McSpideyFace or some sort of variation – 98

A nomination for someone who is scared of spiders (either scared themselves or naming after someone else who is scared of spiders) – 55

Spiderman Franchise:

Spiderman – 13

Peter Parker - 23

Andrew Garfield – 2

Tobey Maguire – 1

Tom Holland – 3

Stan Lee – 6

 

Harry Potter Franchise:

Aragog (the spider from Harry Potter) – 10

Hermione – 3

Quidditch

Hagrid

Deathly Hallows Spider

Daniel Radcliffe

 

 

Other fictional characters:

Chewbacca

Aladdin

Olaf

Van Helsing

Dopey

Maleficent

Daddy Pig

Chief Wiggum

Darth Vadar

Spider Pig

Fix It Felix

Mrs Doubtspider

Yogi Bear

 

In honour of a parent:

Dadrantula

Mummy Longlegs

Dadspider

 

A Corporation:

Uber Spider

TikTok Wishbone Spider

Other Superheroes:

Batman – 3

Dark Knight

Captain Australia (Play on Captain America)

 

Other literacy references:

Shelob (the spider from Lord of the Rings) – 11

Incy Wincy Spider – 4

Charlotte (Charlotte’s Web) - 3

Narnia Spider

 

Other famous people:

Sir David Attenborough – 3

Winston Spiderhill (play on Winston Churchhill)

Ash Barty - 3

Paul Kelly

James Bond

Karl Spidernovic

Bowie

Yeezy (in honour of Kayne West)

Bob Ross

Barack Obama - 2

Donald Trump

Robin Williams

Jerry Seinfeld

Ned Kelly

Taylor Swift

Darren Lockyer

Frank Silknatra (play on Frank Sinatra)

Bob Hawke

Pauline Hanson

Bear Grylls

 

Queensland Museum staff:

Dr Michael Rix (arachnologist)

Dr Robert Raven (arachnologist)

Dr Jeremy Wilson (arachnologist)

Kieran Aland (Discovery Centre staff)

 

Media Enquiries:

media@qm.qld.gov.au

Christine Robertson, Senior Media Officer, 3840 7789/0417 741 710

Kylie Hay, Senior Media Officer, 3842 9388/0434 565 852