Queensland Museum's Dr Robert Raven pictured with a newly discovered spider species they have called Queensland Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes Trux) Picture AAP/David Clark
Queensland Museum's Dr Robert Raven pictured with a newly discovered spider species they have called Queensland Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes Trux) Picture AAP/David Clark

What Fanning and this spider have in common

A WATER spider named after surfer Mick Fanning has officially been recognised in science literature, along with 23 other new species discovered by Queensland arachnologist Dr Robert Raven.

The Ornodolomedes mickfanningi name was chosen by a public competition a year ago, however the variety of the spider had only now been verified by the scientific community.

Among the other 23 spiders recognised is the Ornodolomedes nicholsoni, named after American actor Jack Nicholson.

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The resemblance is ... uncanny.
The resemblance is ... uncanny.

Dr Raven said the name was chosen because the species was found at Two Peoples Bay, in Western Australia, and the US actor excelled at playing characters with dichotomous personalities.

Australian professional surfer Mick Fanning is this newly discovered spider’s namesake Picture: Richard Dobson
Australian professional surfer Mick Fanning is this newly discovered spider’s namesake Picture: Richard Dobson

"We usually ask permission from the people we are naming the spider after, however we didn't get permission from Jack Nicholson. We don't think he will mind," the arachnologist told AAP.

Striking patterns of the spider named after Mick Fanning
Striking patterns of the spider named after Mick Fanning

"We did ask Mick Fanning though, and he said he was very pleased." Another new species is the Dolomedes briangreenei, named after string theorist Brian Greene.

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Dr Raven says they chose the celebrity names which reflect different features of the spider and to try make the arachnids more popular.

Queensland Museum's Dr Robert Raven pictured with a newly discovered spider species they have called Queensland Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes Trux) Picture AAP/David Clark
Queensland Museum's Dr Robert Raven pictured with a newly discovered spider species they have called Queensland Giant Water Spider (Megadolomedes Trux) Picture AAP/David Clark

"People don't want to hear a scientific name, so we ran a competition last year for people to name the spider. And the winner was a Brazilian who suggested Mick Fanning," he said.

"This spider lives behind Mick's area of the Gold Coast hinterland and hunts alongside the water."