About us


To overview

29/07/2013 - The Hobbit and his spider

Frankfurt, 29.07.2013. The spider expert at the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, Germany, Dr. Peter Jäger, has discovered further previously unknown spider species in Laos. One of the spiders, now described for the first time, crawled across his path during the filming of Dominic Monaghan’s nature documentary “Wild Things”, which is why he named it after the Berlin-born actor: Ctenus monaghani. The new spider species was introduced with its first description, published in the scientific journal Zootaxa.

Ctenus monaghani frontal
Ctenus monaghani frontal © Peter Jäger/Senckenberg

A famous name for a little creepy crawly: When Dr. Peter Jäger dedicates his new, eight-legged discovery to a celebrity, there is sure to be a good reason. In the case of Ctenus monaghani it is the great enthusiasm of Dominic Monaghan which even extended to inconspicuous and unpopular animals such as spiders in his new show “Wild Things”: “He places nature in the foreground in a very special manner,” says Jäger, when explaining the dedication of the new spider species.

For good measure, Jäger discovered the spider on a trip on which he was not only an expert consultant to the “Wild Things” team in the forests and caves of Laos, but the spider expert also appeared in front of the camera with the actor in a river cave. Dominic Monaghan therefore met his eight-legged namesake in its natural habitat.

Dominic Monaghan and Peter Jäger in Laos
Dominic Monaghan and Peter Jäger in Laos. Scene from
“Wild things” ©Cream productions Inc

“Wild Things” has not yet been broadcast in Germany. The series produced by Cream productions was shown on BBC America and Channel 5 in Canada. The German public knows Dominic Monaghan better for his roles in the film version of The Lord of the Rings (Hobbit Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybock) and the television series Lost (Charlie Pace).

Ctenus is a spider genus with many representatives. The smallest of them are less than one centimetre in body length, while particularly large species can reach to more than 3 centimetres. The genus Ctenus belongs to the so-called wandering spiders, which roam along the jungle floor at night and catch their prey without a web. 

Dominic Monaghan and Peter Jäger looking for Great Huntsmen spiders
Looking for Great Huntsmen spiders in Tham Xe Bang Fai
river cave. ©Cream productions Inc

Whoever is the first to discover a new species is allowed to name it. Its membership of a genus is determined necessarily by the physical features of the creature, but the species name – the second word of the term – can be chosen freely, subject to certain rules of nomenclature.


JÄGER, P. (2013) Ctenus monaghani spec. nov., a nocturnal hunter from the forest floor in Laos (Araneae: Ctenidae) — Zootaxa 3670 (1): 091–093 

Dreharbeiten in einer Flußhöhle in Laos
Tham Xe Bang Fai river cave © Peter Jäger/Senckenberg


Dr. Peter Jäger
Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut
Sektion Arachnologie
Tel. +49 (0) 69 7542 1340

Press Office
Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung
Regina Bartel
Tel. +49 (0) 69- 7542 1434

Download press release.

 Ctenus monaghani lateralCtenus monaghani © Peter Jäger/Senckenberg

The press images can be used free of charge for editorial material provided the copyright referred to is also published. Disclosure to third parties is only permitted in the context of this particular report. Commercial use of the image is not permitted.

To research and understand nature in its endless diversity of life forms; to preserve it as a basis for living for future generations, and to use it sustainably – for almost 200 years, the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (Senckenberg Society of Natural History Research) has been devoted to this purpose. Exhibitions and museums are the display window of natural history research, by which means the Senckenberg can share the latest scientific findings with the public and provide insights into past and current changes in nature, as well as their causes and effects. More information at www.senckenberg.de

Press contact

Dr. Sören Dürr
Tel.: 069 7542-1580

Alexandra Donecker
Tel.: 069 7542-1561
Mobil: 0152-0923 1133

Judith Jördens
Tel.: 069 7542-1434
Mobil: 0172-5842340

Email: pressestelle@senckenberg.de

Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum
Senckenberganlage 25
60325 Frankfurt


23/04/2018 13:52:53

22/04/2018 17:18:16

20/04/2018 11:57:08