Say hello to Brian, full name Dolomedes briangreenei, the most recently discovered spider in Australia. (Although considering it's Australia, it's probably only the 10th most recently discovered spider now). According to a report from Mashable Australia, Brian was revealed at the World Science Festival in Brisbane on Wednesday, and loves fresh water streams, going for long swims, and sitting motionless on ponds waiting to devour its prey. How sweet!
Brian can kill prey up to three times its size
Robert Raven, Queensland Museum's principal arachnologist, told Mashable: "These spiders sit there on the water and then all of a sudden an insect will hit the water and the spider races out to get it, grabs it, dives under the water and then swims back to the shore and starts eating it."
Water spiders like Brian in the Dolomedes genus use their legs to feel for vibrations in the water caused by prey, using these signals to hunt and kill insects and fish up to three times their size (although they're not at all dangerous to humans). This is impressive, certainly, but fish-hunting spiders are pretty common and found in many places around the world. Just check out this vintage wildlife footage of a British great raft spider, hunting and killing a stickleback:
Obviously Dolomedes briangreenei's discoverers had to do something to make their new species stand out, and settled on giving it an exotic name: Brian. This was chosen in honor of physicist Brian Greene, who was on hand at the Queensland Museum to meet his namesake, and was able to quickly establish some common ground.
"Physics is all about waves; understanding the universe is all about waves," said Green. "With the announcement last month of humankind’s first detection of gravitational waves — ripples on the surface of space and time — I am particularly honored to be so closely associated with a spider that has its own deep affinity for waves." He told the Brisbane Times: "I was talking to my wife and was saying if we were to do this in New York we would have to name a cockroach after somebody so it is so much more gratifying to have a spider so thank you for this honor."
Brian Greene and Brian spider. (Image credit: World Science Festival)