BOGOTA -- A new species of tarantula has been identified near the home town of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and in an unusual posthumous honor, the spider has been named for the late Nobel literature laureate, officials said Tuesday.
The newly researched "Kankuamos marquezi" is named for both Garcia Marquez and the indigenous Kankuamo group who live in the area of Caribbean Colombia where the writer was born.
The newly high-profile arachnid has a defense mechanism that includes releasing stinging hairs that dig into predators' eyes and people's skin. The possibly scary looking but non-aggressive spider's body is three centimeters long with legs the same length giving an overall size of nine centimeters (3.5 inches).
A group of Uruguayan and Colombian scientists, led by Carlos Perefan from the University of the Republic of Uruguay and the study's lead author, found the species in the upper area of a mountain, 2,200 meters high, in a rainy, cold environment.
Garcia Marquez was born in Aracataca near Colombia's northern coast and started out as a journalist in Cartagena. He was widely seen as the master of magical realism. The author of "One Hundred Years of Solitude," died at the age of 87 on April 17, 2014 in Mexico, where he lived with his wife Mercedes Barcha. Hailed for helping put Latin America on the literary map, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.