Attenborough’s goblin spider
  • New species of spider named in honour of Sir David Attenborough
  • Presentation made to Sir David Attenborough at the WA Museum
  • Prethopalpus attenboroughi is only found on one island in Queensland

Chief Executive Officer of the WA Museum Alec Coles today announced a new species of spider will be named after eminent naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough.

Mr Coles and Chair of the WA Museum Board Emeritus Professor Alan Robson presented Sir David with a framed photograph and signed publication of the species at the WA Museum – Perth this morning.

Prethopalpus attenboroughi is named in recognition of Sir David’s significant contribution to natural history and promotion of the world’s biodiversity,” Mr Coles said.

“For more than six decades Sir David Attenborough has broadcast into hundreds of millions of homes providing a unique insight into the natural world.

“It is Sir David’s enthusiasm for nature and his ability to make biology accessible to generations of viewers that inspired scientists to attribute the new spider with his name.”

Mr Coles said Prethopalpus attenboroughi was discovered and described by Queensland Museum Research Fellow Dr Barbara Baehr and WA Museum Head of Terrestrial Zoology Professor Mark Harvey.

“It is incredible that in the 21st century our scientists are still documenting and describing so many new species,” he said. 

“It highlights how diverse and complex the world’s biodiversity is.”

Prethopalpus is commonly known as a goblin spider, making this species “Attenborough’s goblin spider.” 

It measures 1.04mm in length and is found only on Horn Island in the Torres Strait, Queensland.

Fact File

  • Prethopalpus attenboroughi was published in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History on June 21, 2012.
  • For more information:
  • Sir David Attenborough is in Australia on his speaking tour ‘A Life on Earth’.

Media contacts

Renae Woodhams - Western Australian Museum -

Sarah Perrott - Queensland Museum -