David Bowie and the spiders from Malaysia

Web browsers and television sets flicked to life this morning to announce the death of music legend David Bowie. The 69-year-old—renowned for his visionary musical experimentation across glam rock, art rock, soul, hard rock, dance pop, punk and electronica—died today after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Bowie’s artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. But there’s also a spider here on Earth that will forever remind nature lovers of the masterful singer-songwriter.

Found in trees and leaf litter across Malaysia’s forests, the David Bowie spider (Heteropoda davidbowie) is a distinctive huntsman spider discovered by German spider expert Peter Jäger in 2009.

The bright orange hairs on the body and legs of spider make it a very distinctive arachnid, and it’s easy to see why the species was chosen in honour to be Bowie’s namesake, in honour of the legend’s indelible musical contribution to the world of arachnids.

The origin of the name of Bowie’s backing band, The Spiders from Mars, came from the famous UFO sighting in 1954 where a stadium crowd thought they had witnessed Martian spacecraft that turned out to be migrating spiders.

Farewell Ziggy Stardust; your legacy—in music, and in Malaysia—lives on.