Newly Discovered Microorganism Named After Wizarding World Character

Scientists from the University of Jyväskylä in Finland have discovered a new species of tardigrade that was found on Finnish sand dunes, and they have named it after one of the characters from the wizarding world. According to the academic journal Zoological Studies, Macrobiotus naginae is the name of this newly discovered creature.

Many of you might be wondering what a tardigrade is and why researchers may have chosen to name it after Nagini, who appears as Voldemort’s snake and Horcrux in the Harry Potter series and as a female human Maledictus (portrayed by Claudia Kim) in the Fantastic Beasts films.


Nagini in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1”


A tardigrade is a microscopic creature that can survive in extreme temperatures and has four pairs of legs, which are so small that when it moves, it looks like it is dragging itself around.


A microscopic image of the tardigrade

A microscopic image of the tardigrade. Source: University of Jyväskylä


It’s not uncommon for researchers to use a Harry Potter reference when naming scientific discoveries. In 2021, a real-life Chocolate Frog was discovered in the New Guinea rainforest, a new species of spider discovered in 2017 was named after Aragog, and a couple of years ago, researchers named a new species of pit viper after Salazar Slytherin.

It seems as though any character, no matter how big or small a part they play in the Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts series, has a chance to be named after something within the Muggle world. A rare black seal that was rescued by the Scottish SPCA was named Narcissa after Narcissa Malfoy, Chester Zoo in Cheshire, England, named its first-ever aardvark calf after Dobby the house-elf, and the Greensboro Science Center in North Carolina named a penguin chick Niffler, in reference to the fluffy Fantastic Beasts character it resembles.

What do you think about the naming of the new Macrobiotus naginae? If you discovered a new species, which Potter or Fantastic Beasts character would you name it after?


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Grace Hurley

I'm an animal-loving Ravenclaw with a Masters Degree in Writing and a passion for the Harry Potter universe since the age of five.