Brandi Carlile Now Has a Spider Species Named After Her
Singer, songwriter, Highwomen member, memoirist and now ... spider namesake? Brandi Carlile is adding to her resume once again with what just might be her creepiest (and crawliest) accolade to date.
Along with English author Neil Gaiman and singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel, Carlile is among a group of celebrated figures in popular culture who are getting new species of spiders named after them. Namely, Carlile, Gaiman and Gabriel are all lending their names to varieties of trapdoor spiders. Per the Pensoft publisher blog, the windfall of new namings comes after a recent peer-reviewed revision to the Ummidia genus revealed 33 new species across North and South America.
According to Dr. Rebecca Godwin, who co-authored the study, the decision to name the spiders after celebrities was made in hopes of raising awareness and interest in the newly-discovered arachnids. “I think anything we can do to increase people’s interest in the diversity around them is worthwhile and giving species names that people recognize but that still have relevant meaning is one way to do that,” she explains.
But Carlile and her fellow spider namesakes weren't picked at random: On the contrary, each has a special significance to their corresponding species. For example, the Ummidia brandicarlileae — which has reddish-brown legs with horizontal, light-colored stripes and a dark body — is named for Carlile because it hails from Yucatán, Mexico, where the singer hosts her annual Girls Just Wanna Weekend.
After a pandemic-induced cancellation in 2021, the Girls Just Wanna Weekend is set to return in early February 2022. Sheryl Crow, Tanya Tucker, the Indigo Girls, Margo Price, Katie Pruitt and many more are all listed on the bill. A number of as-yet-unnamed special guests have been teased as part of the event, too — it remains to be seen if Ummidia brandicarlileae is among them, though apparently, the festival does take place in the spider's natural habitat.
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