Jumping spider discovered with ‘resemblance’ to fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld

2 Jul 2019

Late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Image: fashionstock/depositphotos

A curious spider with a crop of white hair, similar to the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, has been discovered by scientists.

Creatures have been named after many famous figures, from David Attenborough to Donald Trump. Now, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died earlier this year, can join this list of natural namesakes.

Researchers from the University of Hamburg, Queensland Museum in Brisbane and Monash University in Melbourne have announced the discovery of a spider bearing a resemblance to Lagerfeld. With its black and white legs and crop of white hair, it looks similar to Lagerfeld’s trademark style of white hair and Kent collar that contrasted with his black sunglasses and gloves.

Officially named Jotus karllagerfeldi, the tiny spider is a new member of the Australian jumping spider family and measures between 4mm and 5mm. When compared to its cousins, its black and white legs and tactile organs make it really stand out. Typically, Australian jumping spiders have more striking blue or red colours.

Close-up of the newly discovered spider with black and white legs.

The newly described ‘brushed’ jumping spider species Jotus karllagerfeldi. Image: Mark Newton/CeNak

The links to Hamburg don’t just stop with the Hamburg-based Dr Danilo Harms and Lagerfeld, however, as the spider was found among a collection of specimens compiled by Johann Cesar Godeffroy, who hailed from the German city. During the 19th century, he financed a number of expeditions to Australia for natural research.

Surprisingly, even though the genus Jotus comprises numerous species found all over Australia, not much is known about these spiders. An interesting feature, according to the scientists behind the recent study, is the huge telescopic eyes that allow for spatial vision.

The creature is a forager – as it does not have the ability to weave webs, it evolved to become an extremely fast and agile hunter with the ability to jump short distances.

This isn’t the first time Harms has been involved in naming spiders after celebrity figures. In 2017, the discovery of a strange water-adapted species, which appeared during low tide on the beaches of Queensland, led to the creature being named after Bob Marley for his song High Tide or Low Tide.

Late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld. Image: fashionstock/depositphotos

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic