Which Hollywood Action Hero Has A Spider Named After Him?
Answer: Harrison Ford
It would be easy to assume the reason Harrison Ford has a spider species named after him is because of his role as Indian Jones and the association between the adventurer and caverns, crypts, and all manner of out of the way locations that are packed with spiders, snakes, and worse.
The honor, however, comes to Ford as a result not of his Silver Screen adventures but his real life activism. Harrison Ford is a passionate environmental conservationist; he serves as the Vice Chairman of Conservation International and has wont he Jules Verne Spirit of Nature Award.
In 1993 an American arachnologist, Norman Platnick, wanted to honor Ford for his activism, prominence in the conservation community, and for narrating a documentary for the Natural History Museum in London. Platnick did so by naming a newly discovered Californian spider after Ford, the Calponia harrisonfordi. Ford’s conservation work never slowed down and almost a decade later entomologist Edward Wilson named a new species of ant, Pheidole harrisonfordi, after the busy actor.
Ford certainly isn’t the only famous figure to have a newly discovered creature named after him, although his altruistic behavior serving as a source of the naming is certainly more noble than some of the more light hearted things which have prompted fame-inspired scientific names. There is, for example, an orb weaver spider named after Frank Zappa, Pachygnatha zappa, because its underbelly markings are quite reminescent of Zappa’s distinct mustache and a horse fly, Scaptia beyonceae, named after Beyoncé Knowles because both the fly and the singer share a genetic propensity for large derrieres.
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