A newly discovered species of Australian spider has been christened Venomius tomhardyi, in homage to actor Tom Hardy and his portrayal of the Marvel character Venom, as per a new study published in the journal Evolutionary Systematics.
The authors noted that prominent black markings on the spider’s thorax resembled the patterns seen on Venom’s head after merging with Marvel’s Eddie Brock, portrayed by Hardy in the films. The rest gets pretty inside science-y baseball, but the gist is this: Venomius is a newly discovered genus of Australian orb-weaving spiders–while they possess venom to immobilize their prey, their venom is typically not potent enough to pose a significant threat to humans. Still, probably would not be a welcome sight in the shower.
In taxonomy, drawing inspiration from popular culture for nomenclature is not a new phenomenon. Earlier this year, a recently discovered snake in the Peruvian mountains was named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi, in homage to actor Harrison Ford. Ford’s name has been bestowed upon a species of ant (Pheidole harrisonfordi) and a spider (Calponia harrisonfordi).
In August, Ford told The Hollywood Reporter that these honors are “humbling” but a bit confusing. “These scientists keep naming critters after me, but it’s always the ones that terrify children,” Ford said. “I don’t understand. I spend my free time cross-stitching. I sing lullabies to my basil plants, so they won’t fear the night.”
Likewise, in early 2023, a butterfly was dubbed Saurona, a nod to the sinister character Sauron from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. This name was chosen due to the butterfly’s wing markings, reminiscent of the fiery eye seen above the fortress of Barad-dur in Peter Jackson’s film adaptations. The previous year, 2022, witnessed the naming of the most distant star known to date in honor of Earendil, a character from Tolkien’s The Silmarillion.
Venom will play a significant role in the upcoming PlayStation exclusive game, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, developed by Insomniac.
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