December 24, 2012
Aptostichus barackobamai. Photo by Jason Bond.
Like other trapdoor spiders, Aptostichus barackobamai dig underground burrows capped with a silk "trapdoor" which they use to ambush their prey. The new species are described in the journal ZooKeys. Jason Bond, director of the Auburn University Museum of Natural History, is the lead author of the paper.
But the U.S. president wasn't the only new spider named after a famous figure, according to Wired.
Aptostichus bonoi, which lives in Joshua Tree National Park, is named after U2 band member Bono. Aptostichus sarlacc? That’s basically the Tatooine spider. It lives in the Southern California desert, and takes its name from Boba Fett’s ground-dwelling tormentor. The Atomic Penn Jillette Trapdoor spider (Aptostichus pennjillettei) is from the old nuclear testing site near Mercury, Nevada.
Cesar Chavez, Dorothea Lange, John Muir and Edward Abbey have also been similarly immortalized.
Aptostichus barackobamai is not the first new species named after Obama this year. Last month scientists named the Spangled Darter (Etheostoma obama), a species of darter fish from Tennessee, after the U.S. President.