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(Credit: Montclair Film)


Newly discovered spider-killing worm named after Jeff Daniels


Considering just how many people both admire and despise spiders, it’s a surprise that so few movies have been made about the eight-legged creatures especially considering their box-office potential in the horror genre. Just look at the successful horror-comedy Arachnophobia starring Jeff Daniels released in 1990 that was a hit upon its release and continues to frighten and entertain audiences to this day. 

Such a cult favourite was the ‘90s horror that a recently discovered tarantula-killing worm has been named in honour of the lead actor, Jeff Daniels, with the new creature being donned ‘tarantobelus jeffdanielsi’. Named by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, who uncovered the new lifeform, the tarantobelus jeffdanielsi is a type of roundworm that has been specifically found to infect tarantulas. 

Speaking to Science Daily, parasitologist Adler Dillman who led the discovery stated, “His character in [Arachnophobia] is a spider killer, which is exactly what these nematodes are”. Meanwhile, actor Jeff Daniels responded to the news with surprise and joy, telling the magazine: “When I first heard a new species of nematode had been named after me, I thought, ‘Why? Is there a resemblance?’”. 

After joking about the recent discovery, the actor then added: “Honestly, I was honoured 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”.

Having slowed down his career in Hollywood, Jeff Daniels has taken a back seat from acting to focus on his personal life, with his most recent role being in Showtime’s 2021 drama American Rust where he starred alongside Maura Tierney, Rob Yang and Bill Camp.