Queensland Museum scientists have honoured wildlife warrior Terri Irwin by naming a new species of spider after her.
Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker said the spider, Leichhardteus terriirwinae, was discovered by Queensland Museum research fellow Dr Barbara Baehr and senior curator Dr Robert Raven in the Mt Aberdeen region in North East Queensland.
“It was the tenacity of this small spider that led Dr Baehr to name it in honour of Terri Irwin,” Mr Walker said.
“The tiny spider is predominantly brown, with white legs and three white stripes, but don’t expect to easily find it as it’s less than seven millimetres long.
“It’s one of a Queensland museum record 221 new species discovered in 12 months, including fish, geckos, snails, crustaceans, dung beetles, parasites, sea spiders, mites, an earthworm, insects and marine sponges and 104 species of spiders.
“Discovering hundreds of unknown species in a single year puts the researchers at the Queensland Museum at the very forefront of international science news and will lead to a wealth of new scientific knowledge.
“The Queensland government prides itself on our world class institutions and strong base of researchers and in the staff at Queensland Museum we have some of the very best in their field.”
Dr Baehr said she could not think of a better name for the fast-moving spider.
“We named this swift spider after Terri Irwin because Terri is a fast and straight thinking woman,” Dr Baehr said.
Terri Irwin said she was honoured to have the beautiful spider named after her.
“The Queensland Museum continues to inspire us all with new species regularly discovered, and Dr Baehr and Dr Raven are absolute legends with their passion for these special little creatures,” Mrs Irwin said.
This is not the first time a species has been named after the Irwins. In 1997, the late Steve Irwin discovered a new species of turtle which he named Elseva irwini after his family and in 2009 a species of air-breathing land snail was named in Steve Irwin’s honour Crikey steveirwini.