Scientists have stumbled upon a new species of spiders that had never been recorded in Colombia before.
They named the new species “Stormtropis,” after the fictional characters in the Star Wars film franchise, due to their similar appearances and characteristics.
Researchers from the Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay and Universidad Nacional de Colombia discovered six new species of spiders, four of which were previously unclassified.
The new species belong to a small spider family with eight species, known as Paratropididae or bald-legged spiders. The species are known to be mygalomorphs and are more closely related to tarantulas.
This is the first time scientists have spotted this species of spiders in Colombia, but they have been known to inhabit Central and South America.
In the new research published in the journal Zookeys on March 14, the researchers described the new species of spiders as possessing the ability to camouflage as well as resembling one another in size and markings.
This is one of the main reasons why they named the four previously unclassified species “stormtropis,” after the fictional characters from the Star Wars film franchise, known as the Stormtroopers.
In the Star Wars universe, the Stormtroopers are known as the soldiers and a main ground force of the Galactic Empire, under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine.
In addition to camouflage and similar appearances, the researchers also noticed that the male Stormtropis spiders have only two claws on their feet, instead of three, and longer genitals compared to the other known bald-legged species.
“These soldiers are very similar to each other, with some capacity for camouflage, but with unskillful movements, like this new group of spiders,” said the researchers.
“We wanted to make a play on words with the name of the known genus, Paratropis, and of course, we also wanted to pay tribute to one of the greatest sagas of all time” they continued.
Among the newfound Stormtropis species is S. muisca, which was reported from an altitude of around 3,400 meters in the central Andean Mountains in South America. This species is considered to be the “highest altitudinal record for the family” to date, according to the researchers.
However, there are also other species that live at an altitude higher than 4,000 meters, said the researchers but that information is yet to be published.