Jeff Daniels now has a tarantula-killing worm named after him

The worm — called tarantobelus jeffdanielsi — was found by researchers at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) and is among more than 25,000 nematode types, however just the 2nd one discovered to contaminate tarantulas.

Scientist chose to call the worm after Daniels as a nod to his function as Dr. Ross Jennings in the 1990 movie “Arachnophobia,” in which his character conserves a Californian town from a spider invasion.

“When I first heard a new species of nematode had been named after me, I thought, ‘Why? Is there a resemblance?'” Daniels stated in a news release published by UCR Tuesday.

“Honestly, I was honored by their homage to me and Arachnophobia. Made me smile,” he included. “And of course, in Hollywood, you haven’t really made it until you’ve been recognized by those in the field of parasitology.”

Tarantula visibly infected with jeffdanielsi.

Adler Dillman, primary scientist and an associate teacher of parasitology at UCR, was at first gotten in touch with by a wholesale tarantula breeder in September 2019, who informed him that numerous tarantulas had actually passed away with white masses around their mouths.

Dillman and his group determined them as having actually been contaminated with jeffdanielsi. Contaminated tarantulas were observed strolling on tiptoes and not consuming, scientists stated. They likewise lost the capability to utilize their pedipalps — the organs that manage their fangs.

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When It Comes To what the types ought to be called, it was an “easy decision” for Dillman, who informed CNN Thursday that Daniels had actually been “so gracious about the whole thing.”

“We had a lab party where we watched the film over Halloween in 2019,” Dillman informed CNN through e-mail. “I already knew that I wanted to name the nematode after Jeff Daniels, because of the obvious connection.

“I’m a kid of the 80s, so I matured enjoying Arachnophobia and caring Jeff Daniels and his work,” Dillman added. “However I wished to persuade the remainder of the laboratory that calling the nematode after him was the best relocation. What much better method to do that than have them see the movie, which absolutely holds up by the method.”

The tarantula-killing parasite tarantobelus jeffdanielsi.

Jeffdanielsi are explained by the group as “self-fertilizing hermaphrodites that produce their own sperm and eggs” and can produce up to 160 offspring during their lifetime.

Dillman said a tarantula infected with jeffdanielsi could take months to die of starvation, but that the infection was lethal. He and his team are planning further studies to understand how the infection develops and changes tarantulas’ behavior, and whether they can be prevented by breeders.

Their findings were released Monday in the Journal of Parasitology.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.