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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.


  1. Kagan Gungor
    July 25, 2013, 5:04 am

    gepetto spider

  2. mario
    March 29, 2013, 8:19 pm

    Mystic spider

  3. coco
    austin tx
    February 26, 2013, 11:25 am

    how about call it the PHANTOM SPIDER.

  4. Riley
    February 24, 2013, 3:26 pm

    Fraud Spider

  5. Riley
    February 24, 2013, 3:25 pm

    Frauder Spider

  6. Ehsan
    Sydney, NSW, Australia
    February 22, 2013, 9:10 pm

    FakeSpider , or NoSpider

  7. elnaz
    February 22, 2013, 12:53 pm

    wily web or connig spider

  8. Arash Moharrami
    February 22, 2013, 7:47 am

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

  9. STaiX
    February 8, 2013, 8:28 am

    mmmm..! No comment !

  10. arana
    February 7, 2013, 10:07 pm

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

  11. simulacrum, simulacra, simulacrus depending on the genus
    La Mesa, CA
    February 7, 2013, 10:06 pm

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

  12. Cody
    Scottsboro, AL
    February 7, 2013, 8:37 am

    Peter Parker

  13. Erika
    February 6, 2013, 3:59 pm

    Mimic Spider

  14. Olivia
    Colorado Springs Colorado
    February 6, 2013, 9:26 am

    Decoy Spider

  15. meg j
    quad cities, IA
    February 6, 2013, 9:21 am

    david copperweb! heehee – but more practically, marionette spider

  16. The Crazy Hetalia Fan
    February 5, 2013, 12:28 pm

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

  17. jeanne macdonald
    United States
    February 5, 2013, 2:15 am

    Obama spider

  18. Danielle
    February 3, 2013, 9:50 pm

    Torrestial Spider
    Mastatorres Spider
    Mystorres Spider (as in Mystery)

  19. Mike
    Louisville, KY
    February 3, 2013, 1:11 pm

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

  20. Kat
    February 3, 2013, 5:15 am


  21. Irwin Balanquit
    February 1, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Deceptive spider- appearance can often be deceptive!

  22. Aniket Sane
    Pune, India
    February 1, 2013, 3:57 am

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

  23. Aniket Sane
    Pune, India
    February 1, 2013, 3:47 am

    ‘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.

  24. J.
    February 1, 2013, 2:07 am

    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…

  25. Duster
    February 1, 2013, 1:25 am

    I’d call it the doppelganger.

  26. Mark Chudleigh
    January 31, 2013, 11:50 pm

    ‘ The Frankenspider ‘ creating life from death !

  27. Tammy McFadden
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    January 31, 2013, 11:32 pm

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

  28. Iad Tawil
    January 31, 2013, 8:27 pm

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

  29. Iad Tawil
    January 31, 2013, 8:05 pm

    I suggest “The Illusionist Spider”

  30. Jamie
    January 31, 2013, 7:21 pm

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

  31. Judy
    January 31, 2013, 6:27 pm

    The Decoy Spider

  32. Larry Moore
    Virginia, US
    January 31, 2013, 6:19 pm

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

  33. yolanda bermudez
    January 31, 2013, 5:48 pm

    I like very much the spiders.

  34. yolanda bermudez
    January 31, 2013, 5:46 pm

    awesome: Name Ted 2.

  35. BellsW
    January 31, 2013, 5:40 pm

    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.

  36. René Truzzi
    January 31, 2013, 5:38 pm

    Troll Spider

  37. Travis
    New York
    January 31, 2013, 5:37 pm

    The Wizard of Oz Spider

    It’s just the spider behind the curtain.

  38. Soon
    Los Angeles
    January 31, 2013, 4:48 pm

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

  39. Ashley
    January 31, 2013, 4:38 pm

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

  40. Ashley
    January 31, 2013, 4:36 pm

    Name him Bob! As in, “the builder”

  41. OrwellianQueen
    hartlepool, uk
    January 31, 2013, 4:23 pm

    David Cameron was the first name to spring to mind…

  42. Zach
    Chestertown, MD
    January 31, 2013, 4:14 pm

    I’d go with Narcissistic Spider

  43. Roi'ikka-Ta
    January 31, 2013, 4:09 pm

    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.

  44. Amanda
    January 31, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Mock-clone Spider?

  45. luis
    January 31, 2013, 4:03 pm

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

  46. Toni Clark
    January 31, 2013, 1:35 pm


  47. Michele Iannone
    Italy - Bari
    January 31, 2013, 9:16 am

    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” !!!

  48. Ima Ryma
    January 31, 2013, 2:52 am

    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.

  49. Laura
    Cincinnati OH
    January 30, 2013, 8:53 pm

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