Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Neil Young Spider

US singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honour bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians – his own spider.

East Carolina University biologist Jason Bond discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favourite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Mr Bond said.

"As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

Mr Bond discovered the new spider species in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007. He said spiders in the trapdoor genus, who tended to live in burrows and build trap doors to seal off their living quarters, were distinguished from one species to the next on the basis of differences in genitalia.

He confirmed through the spider's DNA that the Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi was an identifiable, separate species of spider within the trapdoor genus.

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