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Scientists Have Named a Species of Spider After Brandi Carlile

The singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile already has an impressive resume. She's won many Grammy awards, co-founded The Highwomen, and penned Broken Horses: A Memoir. But now earned a much weirder and — in my opinion — even cooler honor. The musician has an entire species of spider named after her! In celebration of New Spider Day, Carlile's namesake has officially graced the Ummidia brandicarlileae spiders. Because, why not?

The New Spiders

New Spider Day, which occurred this week, celebrated the discovery of new arachnids through a highly publicized renaming process. After identifying 33 new species of spiders across North and South America, scientists from the University of California Davis published an article in ZooKeys entitled "Taxonomic revision of the New World members of the trapdoor spider genus Ummidia Thorell (Araneae, Mygalomorphae, Halonoproctidae)." Though that topic may not sound flashy, the new spider namesakes certainly are. In addition Carlile, other celebrities were chosen for recognition: author Neil Gaiman, the singer Peter Gabriel, and the aviator Bessie Coleman, who was the first Black American woman to earn a pilot's license.

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According to The A.V. Club, New Spider Day has previously named spiders after the Harry Potter Sorting Hat and Johnny Cash. It seems like these arachnologists have very eclectic tastes. As Dr. Rebecca Godwin, a co-author of the study, explained to the blog Pensoft: "I think anything we can do to increase people's interest in the diversity around them is worthwhile and giving species names that people recognize but that still have relevant meaning is one way to do that."

The Brandi Carlile Spider

Carlile's particular spider, the Ummidia brandicarlileae, is found in Yucatán, Mexico. Carlile was the celeb chosen to represent this species because she holds her annual Girls Just Wanna Weekend Festival in the city of Yucatán. And good news for all you Carlile fans: that music festival will return in February 2022. Read more on that development here.

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