Brazilian biologist Christina Rheims specializes in classifying and naming new species of spiders at Instituto Butantan in Sao Paulo. She also happens to be a fan of heavy metal. When naming four newly discovered species, Rheims decided to immortalize members of some of her favorite bands as arachnids.
According to PRI (Public Radio International), the spider species are named after Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson (Extraordinarius bruceickinsoni); Scorpions singer Klaus Meine (Extraordinarius klausmeinei); Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen (Extraordinarius rickalleni); and late vocalist André Matos of the Brazilian band Angra (Extraordinarius andrematosi).
“This is the kind of music I like and I usually listen to,” said Rheims. “I’ve always wanted to honor Rick Allen because I think he’s an example. You have a drummer that loses an arm, and he continues his career and he learns how to play with only one arm. So he’s one of the Extraordinarius, as well.”
The names of new species follows international codes of nomenclature in the animal kingdom and plant world, but researchers are also given some creative freedom when naming new discoveries. Rheims was initially inspired to name one of the species as a tribute to Matos of Angra, who suddenly passed way at the age of 47 earlier this year. With three additional species to name, she followed the metal theme.
Klaus Meine was so smitten by the biological tribute that he requested a signed certificate from Rheims. Allen also offered his approval on Twitter, writing, “‘Extraordinarius rickalleni’!? I am honored!!”
As for the spiders themselves, the new species are 1 to 2 centimeters in length, nocturnal, and harmless to humans.
I am honored! Thank you, Christina Rehims! You rock!https://t.co/Szt81IzxME
— Rick Allen (@rickallenlive) October 18, 2019