Neil Young gets new honor -- his own spider

LOS ANGELES Mon May 12, 2008 8:59am EDT

1 of 2. A newly discovered species of trapdoor spider has been named by US biologist Jason Bond after his favorite musician, Neil Young, with a photograph of the spider, Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, courtesy of ECU News Services.

Credit: Reuters/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - Iconic singer and songwriter Neil Young has had an honor bestowed upon him that is not received by many musicians -- his own spider.

An East Carolina University biologist, Jason Bond, discovered a new species of trapdoor spider and opted to call the arachnid after his favorite musician, Canadian Neil Young, naming it Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi.

"There are rather strict rules about how you name new species," Bond said in a statement.

"As long as these rules are followed you can give a new species just about any name you please. With regards to Neil Young, I really enjoy his music and have had a great appreciation of him as an activist for peace and justice."

Young, 62, is a veteran rock musician who rose to fame in the 1960s with the band Buffalo Springfield and later became a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, whose 1970 release "Deja Vu" has become a classic rock album.

The singer/songwriter, whose solo work ranges from older albums such as "Harvest" to newer CDs like "Living with War," has long been an activist for social and anti-war causes.

Bond discovered the new spider species in Jefferson County, Alabama, in 2007. He said spiders in the trapdoor genus, who tend to live in burrows and build trap doors to seal off their living quarters, are distinguished from one species to the next on the basis of differences in genitalia.

He confirmed through the spider's DNA that the Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi is an identifiable, separate species of spider within the trapdoor genus.

Young is not the first musician to have a creature named after him. A species of beetle that looks as if it is wearing a tuxedo -- the whirligig beetle, or Orectochilus orbisonorum -- was named earlier this year after the late rock 'n' roll legend Roy Orbison and his widow Barbara.

(Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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