Spider named after Venom

News from the world of nature has to do with Tom Hardy and his Marvel character Venom. A newly discovered Australian spider took his name. It is the genus Venomius and its only current species, Venomius tomhardyi. They were described after an expedition to Tasmania. This is the story of the spider named after Venom.

Tom Hardy plays Eddie Brock and his alter ego Venom, an anti-hero closely associated with Spider-Man. He does so in two Marvel films and gives his name to the only species of the new genre. The distinctive black spots on the spider’s abdomen reminded scientists of Venom’s head. That inspired them to choose the unusual name.

The spider named after Venom appeared in Australia.
Spider named after Venom appeared in Australia.

Table of Contents

New spiders

The genus belongs to the Araneidae family of spiders that build vertical circular webs to capture prey. They resemble the related genus Phonognatha in that both do not have tubercles on the abdomen. But these spiders differ in their behavior of creating silk-lined holes in tree branches for shelter. They also have different genitalia.

The holotype of the new species is in the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery. It appeared after an expedition to Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Supplementary specimens were also obtained from scientific collections. Approximately 12,000 records were examined in Australian and overseas institutions.

Co-author Pedro Castanheira, of Murdoch University in Perth, spoke about the aims of the study. “This is part of a long-term investigation. It aims to document the entire Australian spider fauna. It is of utmost importance for conservation management plans and the continuation of the 10-year plan for taxonomy and biosystematics in Australia and New Zealand.”

The character after whom this species is named is a popular Marvel antihero.
The character after whom this species is named is a popular Marvel antihero.


“It’s really important to keep describing new spiders. The spider named after Venom is part of that. It helps us assess the overall biodiversity of these predators in Australia.” Says the study’s first author, Giullia Rossi, also of Murdoch University. The research is published in Evolutionary Systematics.

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