A species of crab that managed to elude capture for 20 years after it was first identified from remains has become the latest real-life creature to be named after a Harry Potter character. Harryplax severus takes its name from Harry’s notorious teacher Severus Snape, who managed to keep the secret that he was a double agent working for Hogwarts headmaster Professor Dumbledore until he died.
Discovered 20 years ago in Guam by collector Harry Conley, who was digging in rubble fields at low tide, biologists have only now identified it as a new species. It was Conley’s first name, rather than the beloved boy wizard’s, that provided the genus name – in honour of his prolific rummaging for crustaceans, deep in the Micronesian island’s mud.
Writing in Zoekeys, Jose Mendoza and Peter Ng said they had named the new species severus as an allusion to the notorious and misunderstood potions master “for his ability to keep one of the most important secrets in the story”. Read more