The Reason This Parasitic Worm Was Named After Jeff Daniels

American actor Jeff Daniels has proven himself to be a very adaptable actor, having managed to largely avoid being typecast into any particular genre of film or sort of character. His roles have ranged from serious and historical roles like that of General Joshua Chamberlain in 1993's "Gettysburg" to co-staring with Jim Carey in the 1994 comedy "Dumb and Dumber." It was due to his starring role in "Arachnophobia" — a comedy-horror film centered on the invasion of a town by dangerous spiders — that Daniels earned a different kind of fame many years later.

Nematodes are a type of durable and long-lived parasitic worm that infects many different species across various animal kingdoms. One nematode has recently been discovered to be the second-known of its type to target tarantulas. Once within their system, the worm can disrupt the arachnid's control over its fangs, leaving them unable to hunt or eat. In honor of Daniels' role as a spider-killer in the 1990 film, the parasite has been named "Tarantobelus jeffdanielsi" (via Variety).

The naming of species after famous people is a common trend

The naming of newly discovered (both living and extinct) animal species after famous people has actually been very common for hundreds of years — even Metallica has had the honor. Many biologists and paleontologists have been able to be creative with names due to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature's relative lack of rules on the matter. According to Scientific American, though, it is against the commission's rules for discoverers to use their own names.

According to the BBC, some examples include "Avahi cleesei" (a lemur named after John Cleese), "Attenborosaurus conybeari" (an extinct sea-going plesiosaur named after David Attenborough), and "Scaptia beyonceae" (a fly named after Beyonce — specifically for abdominal hair follicles that the researchers thought resembled the singer's hair color). As for Daniels and his new namesake, he seemed to take it in stride, joking that he wondered if the worm somehow resembled him. In the same statement, he admitted he was honored by the naming and affirmed the importance of the work that its discoverers have done (via Mashable).