Your Suggestions For Naming the Decoy-Building Spider

When I wrote about a newly discovered species of spider that built large decoys of itself to scare off predators, readers responded with an astonishing array of suggested monikers. Clearly, this spider needed a name, one that portrayed both its uniqueness and creativity. (Related post: “What’s in an (Animal) Name?”)

A spider in search of a name. Deep in the Amazon, a spider that builds a decoy of itself to trick predators has yet to be named. Photo courtesy Phil Torres.

Names can make a thing. The rusted-out hunk of junk I drove in high school and college took on an air of panache when my friend began referring to it as the Carriemobile. As for myself, I’ve been nicknamed “Care Bear” at least three totally independent times. (I’m hoping they were referring to my kindness and not a layer of fur that I couldn’t see.)

My cat was named Aria before I adopted her by a foster mom who noticed that she was a little diva. Aria doesn’t walk, she sashays. I thought about renaming her, but “Don’t pee on the rug, dammit” doesn’t have quite the same ring.

Naming an object is important. It’s something I think we all have experience with. A name can be a verbal shorthand—”decoy spider” is much easier to spit out than “a newly discovered species of spider that built large decoys of itself to scare off predators”—and it can also be a way to highlight an item’s unique characteristics. “Hey, you!” doesn’t always cut it.

Here are some of my personal favorites from reader suggestions for this newly discovered and wickedly cool spider:

  • Mannequin spider
  • Puppeteer or marionette spider
  • David Copperweb
  • Avatar spider
  • Trojan horse spider
  • Effigy spider
  • Leonardo spider (after Leonardo da Vinci, who made a famous self-portrait)

If this spider is determined to be a new species, Phil Torres and those who first discovered it will have first choice in giving it a name, but I will definitely pass along these suggestions. Please feel free to share more in the comments below!

Carrie Arnold is a freelance science writer living in Virginia. When she’s not writing about cool critters, she’s spending time outside, drinking coffee, or knitting.

Carrie is a freelance science writer living in Virginia. When she's not writing about cool critters, she's spending time outside, drinking coffee, or knitting. You can visit her website at http://www.carriearnold.com
  • Laura

    I love that there are still species to name. I will go with the Inveigler Spider… This was fun to read.

  • Ima Ryma

    Recently, a spider was found,
    That weaved a web, apparently,
    As a big decoy to surround
    The little spider’s goal to be
    Fooling whatever looked close by,
    That the decoy was the real thing.
    Maybe whatever would not try
    For further truth for a snacking.
    A new species? Word’s not in yet.
    Similar species do exist,
    Find them in D.C. – a sure bet!
    In webs to fool, they do persist.

    Name a web builder of deceit –
    Pollytician weaves that excrete.

  • Michele Iannone

    I saw, within the suggested names, that of “Leonardo spider” and for me it is valid . Infact I thought the same name, before to see the suggested ones.
    Therefore I support the name “Leonardo spider” !!!

  • Toni Clark


  • luis

    Well for me it just has to be the MIMIC SPIDER, IT HAS TO BE NAMED THIS YOU DONT UNDERSTAND.

  • Amanda

    Mock-clone Spider?

  • Roi’ikka-Ta

    the marionette spider sure does sound awesome for such a smart little arachnid. it makes it and leaves it there almost as if it is waiting for someone to steal or eat the marionette. then, it crafts another one again and again as it dances around the web waiting for prey almost as if drawn behind an invisible curtain waiting for an animal to come up and try to steal it once again.

  • Zach

    I’d go with Narcissistic Spider

  • OrwellianQueen

    David Cameron was the first name to spring to mind…

  • Ashley

    Name him Bob! As in, “the builder”

  • Ashley

    Name it Ray Kinsella! “If you build it, they will run away terrified”

  • Soon

    If I get to name this spider,
    I would like to call it, spider spider.

  • Travis

    The Wizard of Oz Spider

    It’s just the spider behind the curtain.

  • René Truzzi

    Troll Spider

  • BellsW

    I suggest The Merry Masquerader.
    The Amazon Masquerader.

    I don’t feel naming it after a television show/character is appropriate. Perhaps a name made from those who found it.

  • yolanda bermudez

    awesome: Name Ted 2.

  • yolanda bermudez

    I like very much the spiders.

  • Larry Moore

    How about Oz Spider. The Wizard of Oz pulled the same trick with his image projector and amplified voice.

  • Judy

    The Decoy Spider

  • Jamie

    “Doppelganger Spider,” or “The Hider Spider.” But yeah, David Copperweb is pretty awesome too.

  • Iad Tawil

    I suggest “The Illusionist Spider”

  • Iad Tawil

    The Illusionist Spider, or Spider-duper, or Prankster Spider.

  • Tammy McFadden

    Artiface sculptor spider…… A very clever, artsy spider indeed!

  • Mark Chudleigh

    ‘ The Frankenspider ‘ creating life from death !

  • Duster

    I’d call it the doppelganger.

  • J.

    I propose Ozymandias spider, after Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II- known as Ozymandias by the Greek.

    Ramses is usually considered to have been a great king but he may have blown his own deeds and might out of proportion; he is particularly known for having literally tons of colossal statues of himself so that everyone would be awed and intimidated by his power even if the reality was probably not as impressive.

    In case Ozymandias is already taken by a beetle as usual, maybe some of the many ways to spell Ramses could do…

  • Aniket Sane

    ‘Spy’der can be the name, because this thing spies on other insects which are engaged by it’s decoy. The name would indicate the craftiness of it.

  • Aniket Sane

    In earlier comment I meant, the name could be : “spyder’ , which basically stands for spy + der that is, a crafty spying spider.

  • Irwin Balanquit

    Deceptive spider- appearance can often be deceptive!

  • Kat


  • Mike

    The Hungry Spider. Scares away predators but prey would probably see it and not go near also, rite?

  • Danielle

    Torrestial Spider
    Mastatorres Spider
    Mystorres Spider (as in Mystery)

  • jeanne macdonald

    Obama spider

  • The Crazy Hetalia Fan

    auto-geminati aranea
    (self-duplicated spider)
    iterum creandi aranea
    (Again creating spider)
    arenea refoveo
    (Recreated Spider)
    Autem Exemplar
    (A copy)

  • meg j

    david copperweb! heehee – but more practically, marionette spider

  • Olivia

    Decoy Spider

  • Erika

    Mimic Spider

  • Cody

    Peter Parker

  • simulacrum, simulacra, simulacrus depending on the genus

    it the Latin translation of phantom, or the same as a false appearance

  • arana

    simulacrum, simulacra, simulacrus depending on the genus translation of phantom– or false appearence

  • STaiX

    mmmm..! No comment !

  • Arash Moharrami

    How is about “Scarecrow Spider”? I think it suits.

  • elnaz

    wily web or connig spider

  • Ehsan

    FakeSpider , or NoSpider

  • Riley

    Frauder Spider

  • Riley

    Fraud Spider

  • coco

    how about call it the PHANTOM SPIDER.

  • mario

    Mystic spider

  • Kagan Gungor

    gepetto spider

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