A new scientific paper published in The Journal of Parasitology has christened a recently-discovered nematode in honor of the actor Jeff Daniels and his cultural contributions in the film Arachnophobia:
Multiple tarantula deaths for a wholesale breeder were reported in 2018. The breeder noticed white discharge in the oral cavities of the tarantulas. Upon inspection, it was discovered that the white discharge was a large group of nematodes intertwined inside the tarantula's oral cavity. We examined the nematodes and propose a new species, Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi n. sp., in the currently monotypic genus Tarantobelus based on a combination of morphological and morphometrical data and unique nuclear rDNA 28S and 18S sequences.
Adler Dillman, a UC Riverside parasitologist and an author on the paper, explained the rationale beyond the roundworm's unique name saying that, "[Jeff Daniels'] character in the film [Arachnophobia] is a spider killer, which is exactly what these nematodes are."
Upon learning the news, Daniels said:
When I first heard a new species of nematode had been named after me, I thought, 'Why? Is there a resemblance?' Honestly, I was honored by their homage to me and Arachnophobia. Made me smile. And of course, in Hollywood, you haven't really made it until you've been recognized by those in the field of parasitology.
Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi n. sp. (panagrolaimomorpha; panagrolaimidae), a nematode parasite of tarantulas [Jacob Schurkman; Kyle Anesko; Joaquín Abolafia; Irma Tandingan De Ley; Adler R. Dillman / The Journal of Parasitology]
Scientists discover tarantula-killing worms: New parasite named after actor Jeff Daniels [Phys.org]