A new spider species has been named after Mick Fanning

By AG Staff 2 June 2017
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The public was asked to name the spider according to its most distinct attributes.

A new species of water spider has been named in honour of world surfing champion Mick Fanning after the public was given the opporunity to name the spider at the World Science Fair Brisbane. 

The public was asked to name the spider according to its most distinct attributes. Robert Raven, an arachnologist from the Queensland University, who has discovered over 1000 new spider species, says the spider is most noticeable for its distinct colour pattern and semi-aquatic habitat.

Brazilian Arachnologist, Hector Manuel Osorio Gonzalez, who also happens to be a surfing fanatic, chose the winning name Pisauridae mickfanningi

Mick welcomed the news saying,“It was certainly a surprise to learn that there will be a little water spider out there that is named in my honour,” adding,“It’s pretty awesome to know that the spider is quite local to the Gold Coast and only a short drive from Snapper.” 

This was the second time the public had been given the opportunity to name a spider species at the World Science Festival Brisbane. Last year, another species of spider that could dive, swim and eat toads was named after physicist, Brian Green (Dolomedes briangreenei). This year there were over a hundred entries in the competition to name the spider. 

The premier of Queensland, Annastacia Palaszczuk praised the festival for it’s ability to celebrate the achievements of those in both the sporting and scientific world. 

“Both Mick Fanning and the Queensland scientists who discovered this new species of spider are world leaders in their respective fields, so it’s fitting to bring the two together in this way,” said Anna, who added that, “It’s important to celebrate what makes Queensland special – from our talented sporting heroes, trail-blazing scientists and fascinating biodiversity, to our success in hosting big cultural events like World Science Festival Brisbane.”

Robert Raven has been at the forefront of new discoveries of spider species in Queensland, telling Australian Geographic earlier this year that there is potential that Queensland is a hot spot for spider diversity in Australia. 

The 2018 World Science Festival Brisbane will be held from 21-25 March.