British actor given rare honour of having venomous spider named after him

A newly discovered spider in Australia has been named after actor Tom Hardy and his Marvel character Venom.

The new species dubbed Venomius tomhardyi were identified on an expedition to Tasmania.

The name comes from the 2018 Marvel movie Venom, starring British actor, Tom Hardy.

In the movie, Mr Hardy portrays Eddie Brock and his alter-ego Venom, an antihero closely associated with Spider-Man, across two Marvel films and gives his name to the sole species of the new genus.

The distinctive black spots on the spider’s abdomen reminded the scientists of Venom’s head, inspiring them to select the unusual name.

In line with the name, the species is venomous, but it causes no harm to humans.

‘In fact, it is unlikely that its chelicerae [pincer-like claws] can pierce into human skin,’ Dr Pedro Castanheira, one of the authors of the study told

This new genus of orb-weaving spiders was described by scientists from Australia and Brazil and published in the journal Evolutionary Systematics.

These spiders were collected in southern Australia, from Tasmania to Western Australia.

The researches described that this species builds a circular, vertical orb-web and often hide in silk-lined hollows in branches of trees when disturbed during the day.

The holotype of the new species was discovered and subsequently preserved at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery following an expedition to Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.

Supplementary specimens were also sourced from scientific collections, with the researchers examining approximately 12,000 records in Australian and overseas institutions.

‘It is really important to keep describing new spiders to assess the total biodiversity of these predators in Australia,’ said the study’s first author MSc Giullia Rossi.

The discovery was part of a long-term research aimed at documenting the entire Australian spider fauna, for conservation management plans in Australia and New Zealand.

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