A new species of spider owes its name to a monster from the popular Harry Potter series, thanks to a Perth high school student who has become one of the youngest authors published by a prestigious scientific journal.
During her research into whether some spiders were endangered by Pilbara mining projects, Shenton College student Frances Harvey, 17, found four new species of the trapdoor spider genus Aname.
She named one, found at only one site, 35km east of Newman, after the giant spider Aragog, which first appeared in J. K. Rowling's book Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Aname marae and ellenae were named after Frances' mother Mara and younger sister Ellen, and A. mellosa after the Latin for honey, because of its golden colour.
Scientists from the WA Museum and the University of WA have since built on her original research, but she is the lead author listed on the article which describes the new species.
It was published last week in the world's biggest taxonomy journal, Zootaxa.
Now in Year 12, Frances did the research in Year 9 for the BioGENEius science competition, which encourages secondary students to take part in a high-level biotechnology project with a mentor.
It seemed a natural fit to ask her father, WA Museum senior curator Mark Harvey, to be her mentor."I already knew quite a bit about spiders because I'd grown up with them," she said.
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