New tarantula species named after Nobel laureate

Gabriel García Márquez. (AFP Photo)
Gabriel García Márquez. (AFP Photo)

Bogota - A new species of tarantula has been identified near the hometown of Gabriel García Márquez and in an unusual posthumous honour, the spider has been named for the late Nobel literature laureate, officials said on Tuesday.

The newly researched "Kankuamos marquezi" is named for both  García Márquez 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 defence 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 centimetres long with legs the same length giving an overall size of nine centimetres

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 200m high, in a rainy, cold environment.

Garcia Márquez 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.

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