Tarantula-killing worm named after Jeff Daniels in superb reference to ‘Arachnophobia’

In what may be one of many nerdiest movie references from scientists to date, Jeff Daniels now has a parasitic worm named after him.

Newly found by scientists on the College of California, Riverside, the “Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi” is a nematode able to killing tarantulas. The identify is a nod to the 1990 basic horror-comedy, Arachnophobia, in which Daniels starred.

With analysis revealed in the Journal of Parasitology, scientists declare this nematode — a microscopic worm-like organism, a few of which act as parasites — is just the second ever discovered to infect tarantulas.

In Frank Marshall’s ’90s movie, Daniels’ character, Ross Jennings, faces assaults from a brand new species of lethal arachnids in the small city of Canaima, California.


“His character in the movie is a spider killer, which is precisely what these nematodes are,” UC Riverside parasitologist and lead researcher Adler Dillman told the university’s news site. However in this case, it is the clearly worms which can be the villain.

And take a look at it:

Image of the tarantula-killing parasite Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi.

Behold, Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi.
Credit score: Adler Dillman / UCR

Knowledgeable of the invention and its title, Daniels provided up the proper response for somebody who’s had a worm named after them.

“After I first heard a brand new species of nematode had been named after me, I believed, ‘Why? Is there a resemblance?'” Daniels told UCR. “Actually, I used to be honored by their homage to me and Arachnophobia. Made me smile. And naturally, in Hollywood, you haven’t actually made it till you’ve been acknowledged by these in the sector of parasitology.”

Film still from

Not pictured: The precise scientists concerned with the invention.
Credit score: Moviestore / Shutterstock

In accordance to the college, the examine started in 2019 when lead researcher Dillman was contacted by a tarantula breeder whose spiders had been affected by an infection. Research discovered these to be nematodes, heralding a very nasty plight for the spiders. An infection from the jeffdanielsi worms was discovered to be deadly, with the parasitic creatures solely inhabiting the tarantulas’ mouths (!) and paralyzing the organs that work a tarantula’s fangs. That means the tarantualas have been dying of hunger.

“It could take months as a result of tarantulas haven’t got to eat notably usually. Nevertheless, in the event that they get this an infection, they’ll die of hunger,” Dillman told UCR. “It is not clear that the nematodes feed on the spider itself. It’s potential that they feed on micro organism that stay on the tarantulas.”


There’s formally a snake named after Salazar Slytherin now


They’ve but to uncover how precisely the worms are in a position to management the tarantula’s fang organs and cease them consuming (once more, what). The researchers have found how the jeffdanielsi worms reproduce, being largely self-fertilizing, and {that a} single worm can produce 160 infants over its 11-day lifespan.

Nevertheless horrific this all is, it is a enjoyable day for followers of Arachnophobia.

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