New Crab Species Takes Snape’s Name

Jose C. E. Mendoza

Jose C. E. Mendoza

Ashley Kang, Staff Writer

  A new crab species was named Harryplax Severus after Severus Snape – Harry Potter’s potions master at Hogwarts.  The crab, originally discovered 20 years ago in the coral reefs of Guam by Harry Conley, was only recently identified as a new species by biologists Jose Mendoza and Peter Ng.

  According to ZooKeys, though the crab takes its genus name from Conley, the species’ name is an allusion to Severus Snape for “his ability to keep one of the most important secrets in the story, just like the present new species which has eluded discovery until now, nearly 20 years after it was first collected.”

  The tiny crab measures .3 by .2 inches and is endemic to the coral rubble and rocks of the island of Guam. Its skin closely resembles the Patronus figure from Harry Potter, with its white-translucent appearance.  

  An avid Harry Potter fan, Kelly Lam (11), said, “Professor Snape’s complex role in the series is probably best symbolized by his doe Patronus. It only seems fitting that the crab, which is reminiscent of the Patronus figure, is named after him.”

 Harryplax severus, however, is not the first species to be named in honor of the Harry Potter series. Discovered in December 2016, Eriovixia Gryffindori, a spider discovered in the mountains of south-western India, was named after Godric Gryffindor, one of the founders of Hogwarts.  In addition, back in 2004, the skull of a 66 million year old dinosaur was discovered and in 2006 it was named  Dracorex Hogwartsia after Harry’s wizard school.

 Potterhead, Jessica Goucher (11) said,  “I think it’s really interesting how they combined the literary world with the scientific world when naming the species.  Snape is complicated and often a misunderstood character. And his intentions throughout the books are almost perfectly comparable to such a mysterious crab species.”

  Due to the species only being recently identified, not much is known other than the fact that it has only been located in the island of Guam.