Imagine: Researchers Name New Tarantula Species After John Lennon

Researchers who discovered a new species of tarantula in Western Amazonia, Brazil, named it after one of their musical heroes: John Lennon. Fernando Pérez-Miles of the University of the Republic, Uruguay, and Alexandre Bragio Bonaldo and Laura Tavares Miglio, both of Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi in Brazil, named the new tarantula species Bumba lennoni. The proposed genus name, Bumba, is taken from Brazilian theatrical folk tradition of the popular festival called Boi-bumbá ("hit my bull"), which is celebrated annually in north and northeastern Brazil. As for the species name, the researchers explain their choice in a study published in the journal Zookeys: “The specific name is patronymic in honor of John Winston Lennon (1940–1980), the legendary creator of The Beatles, who contributed to make this world a gentler place.”

The new tarantula specimens were captured in traps in Caxiuaná, Pará, Brazil. “This species differs from the other species of the genus in the extremely reduced keel on male palpal organ and in the higher number of labial and maxillary cuspules,” the researchers wrote. They believe the Bumba lennoni are nocturnal tarantulas. It’s not the first organism named after the famous Beatle. Lennon is also the inspiration for the scientific name of an extinct species of ocean-dwelling trilobite, Avalanchurus lennoni, and of a wasp, Notiospathius johnlennoni.

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— James Eng