Spider Species Named after Skeletor

(Images: Jürgen Otto, Filmation)

On the right is Skeletor, the main villain on the cartoon He-Man and the Masters of the Universe. On the left is Maratus skeletus, a species of peacock spider named in his honor. Madeline Girard, a graduate student at the University of California at Berkeley, discovered it and another that she calls "Sparklemuffin" in Australia. How did she come up the names? Girard explains in an interview for the blog of Berkeley's Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management:

Searching for and catching spiders feels a little bit like a game; my colleague and I started joking that it felt like we were playing Pokémon! Our first brainstorms with these two new species were trying to play off of that. We didn’t come up with a good Pokémon reference, but “Skeletorus” came up because the spider is black with white lines resembling a skeleton (and we liked the subtle reference to Skeletor from Masters of the Universe!). Sparklemuffin just kind of popped up one day. We wanted something a little bit glamorous, which led to sparkle…and muffin works because the shape of the spider (which is more narrow at the interior of the abdomen and then puffs out at the top) sort of resembles a muffin top. It started as our nickname, but people really love the name and it has made the species really popular!

-via Ark in Space


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