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Spider from Mars Malaysia dubbed David Bowie

Eight legs, but boy can he play guitar?

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A newly-discovered spider has been dubbed Heteropoda davidbowie, in the hope that slapping the rock star's moniker on the beast will help raise awareness about the plight of endangered arachnid species worldwide.

Peter Jäger, the man who identified the spider from Mars Malaysia, told the Observer that "naming spiders after celebrities helped draw attention to the marginal status of many species as human activity destroys their habitats".

He said: “It is working against time. We are also quickly losing genetic resources that have evolved over more than 300 million years.”

The powers that be are apparently reluctant to put spiders on endangered rosters, but the International Union for Conservation of Nature did last year award the Rameshwaram Parachute Spider the dubious honour of making the organisation's "red list".

The remaining 500 Rameshwaram Parachute Spiders on the Indian island of Rameshwaram, near Sri Lanka, face oblivion provoked by the clearing of their woodland habitat to make way for hotels.

Heteropoda davidbowie isn't the first spider named in honour of a muso. Back in 2008, East Carolina University biologist Jason Bond named a newbie trapdoor spider Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi. According to Fox News, he explained: "With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice." ®

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