A spider by any other name

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iol scitech aug 6 David Attenborough

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Sir David Attenborough

Sydney - A newly discovered Australian spider measuring little more than a millimetre in length has been named after celebrated British scientist and broadcaster David Attenborough, reports said on Saturday.

The minuscule arachnid, which is found only on Horn Island, in Australia's Torres Strait, was named prethopalpus attenboroughi by its discoverers, according to Alec Coles, head of the Western Australian Museum.

“Prethopalpus is commonly known as a goblin spider, making this species Attenborough's goblin spider,” public broadcaster ABC reported Coles as saying.

Attenborough was presented with the honour at a ceremony in Perth where he was given a framed picture of the spider.

Coles said Attenborough, 86, was chosen for his love of nature and renowned ability to make science accessible over a career spanning six decades.

“It is incredible that in the 21st century our scientists are still documenting and describing so many new species,” said Coles.

It's not the first time the naturalist has received such an honour - a 380-million-year-old fossil found in Western Australia in 2008 of a prehistoric mother fish giving birth was named materpiscis attenboroughi. - Sapa-AFP

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