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New velvet spider species is named after actor Joaquin Phoenix for his role in the 'Joker'

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A new species of velvet spider has been named after actor and animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix for his role in the 2019 film ‘Joker.’

The creature was discovered in Iran and given its name due to the male’s abdominal pattern that resembles the famous facial makeup worn by Phoenix in the movie.

Named Loureedia phoenixi, the spider has black thin hair on the majority of its body with a bright red line down its back and white spots at each tip.

All other species of velvet spiders have been located in Morocco and Spain to Israel, this newly discovered one is the first found living outside of the Mediterranean.

The spider was discovered in Iran and given its name due to male's abdominal pattern that resembles the famous facial makeup worn by Phoenix in the movie. Named Loureedia phoenixi, the spider has black thin hair on the majority of its body with a bright red line down its back and white spots at each tip

The spider was discovered in Iran and given its name due to male’s abdominal pattern that resembles the famous facial makeup worn by Phoenix in the movie. Named Loureedia phoenixi, the spider has black thin hair on the majority of its body with a bright red line down its back and white spots at each tip

Velvet spiders are typically found in Eurasia and parts of Africa.

Their hair is glossy and thick, which earned them the name ‘velvet,’ and their webs are usually cluttered with debris and sand.

The velvet spider is not likely to be venomous for humans, but it may have some venom, potent for killing insects.

Alireza Zamani, an arachnologist and taxonomist, told DailyMail.com: ‘Many groups of velvet spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism, resulting in the smaller size and more colorful general appearance of the male.

All other species of velvet spiders have been located in Morocco and Spain to Israel, this newly discovered one is the first found living outside of the Mediterranean

All other species of velvet spiders have been located in Morocco and Spain to Israel, this newly discovered one is the first found living outside of the Mediterranean

The velvet spider is not likely to be venomous for humans, but it may have some venom, potent for killing insects

The velvet spider is not likely to be venomous for humans, but it may have some venom, potent for killing insects

‘Also, some other groups of velvet spiders are very interesting ethologically e.g. suicidal maternal care, cooperation in in building communal nests and brood care.’

Zamani and his team discovered two male species of the Loureedia phoenixi in Alborz Province of Iran.

‘Recently, me and my colleague named a new species of this genus from Iran as Loureedia phoenixi, after the American actor, producer and animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix in recognition of his praised portrayal of the title character in the 2019 movie ‘Joker’ and as a reference to the male abdominal pattern of the new species, which resembles the famous facial makeup of the character,’ said Zamani.

A new species of velvet spider has been named after actor and animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix for his role in the 2019 film'Joker'

A new species of velvet spider has been named after actor and animal rights activist Joaquin Phoenix for his role in the 2019 film ‘Joker’

‘Currently, this species is only known by males and the cryptic female remains undiscovered.’

‘This new finding belong to the spider family Eresidae (with about 100 known species globally), commonly known as velvet spiders due to their body being covered by a velvety-coat of short and dense setae.’

‘Many groups of velvet spiders exhibit sexual dimorphism, resulting in the smaller size and more colorful general appearance of the male.’

The new spider is mostly black, with hit hair lining its joints.

Down its back is a bright red line, which resembles the famous smile of the Joke, with a white outline on the edges.

These creatures may look stunning, but have a horrific start in life when they are born.

Scientists found that female velvet spiders biologically prepare themselves to be eaten by their young because their abdominal tissue degenerates to make them more palatable.

Stegodyphus lineatus are found in parts of southern Europe and North Africa.

After babies have hatched, their mother regurgitates food for them, but more sinister changes are happening to the adult spider.

The new spider is mostly black, with hit hair lining its joints. Down its back is a bright red line, which resembles the famous smile of the Joke, with a white outline on the edges

The new spider is mostly black, with hit hair lining its joints. Down its back is a bright red line, which resembles the famous smile of the Joke, with a white outline on the edges

Even before the spiderlings hatch, the female’s abdominal tissues break down, to make her easier for the young spiders to eat – an act known as matriphagy.

This happens during the egg sac incubation period.

By time the offspring hatch, a large portion of the mother’s body has started to degrade her tissues and are partially liquefied.

After two weeks of being nurtured by their mother, the spiderlings pierce their mother’s abdomen and devour her insides by sucking the nutritious liquid she has made.

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