Fantastic Beasts IRL

That’s right! Scientists are helping us Potterheads find some pretty magical creatures IRL.

Most recently, a new species of crab has been discovered living in deep, dark coral graveyards in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Guam. Biologists have named the crab Harryplax severus, a nod to two of J.K. Rowling’s beloved characters, Harry Potter and Severus Snape.

Harryplax Severus Crab

It also happens that the initial research for this discovery was by a man named Harry Conley. The two biologists, Jose Mendoza and Peter Ng, who led the study which discovered the new species of crab inherited his research and opted to honor him in the naming as well. However, Dr. Mendoza felt that the crab had kept itself such a big secret by eluding them for so many years, it deserved a name of another great secret keeper, Professor Severus Snape.

As the crab lives in darkness amongst dead coral, its eyes have become smaller and it has pale, almost translucent, skin. Though it is small, measuring less than a centimeter in length and width, it does have long legs and advanced antennae. Probably should have named it He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Namedplax.

Harryplax Severus Crab 2

Although, it seems like in this instance, the name wasn’t based on the look of the creature. Not this time anyway. Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time a new species found its namesake in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.

In December, researchers discovered a new species of spider in India that looked remarkably like Godric Gryffindor’s favorite hat. Javed Ahmed, avid Potter fan and one of the three researchers who discovered the spider, dubbed the species Eriovixia gryffindori as a nod to the sorting hat originally owned by Gryffindor. The tiny spider measures just over a quarter of an inch and uses its sorting hat camouflage to hide in dried leaves and avoid predators.

Sorting Hat Spider

While these two fantastic beasts are surely magical in name, and even one in look, neither really reminds me of the lovely creatures I fell for in the movie. Right? That’s what you’re thinking, I know it. Well calm down, muggle, and look at this puggle!

Echidna Puggle

Oh yes! That’s a niffler!! Sort of. It’s actually a baby echidna (they call the babies puggles) and it’s a very rare marsupial. It’s a cousin of the platypus and does awesome things like lays eggs and hunts ants and most definitely steals shiny things from its zookeepers. Maybe it just does the first two things but regardless it is magical to see as it is darn near impossible to breed in captivity. The baby pictured above is one of the first to be born at this zoo in about 30 years!

Niffler Echidna

As little puggles grow, they develop spines all over their bodies and their beaks begin to sense the electromagnetic fields given off by everything alive just like sharks do. So, needless to say, these things are awesome! You can find these baby nifflers at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. Check out the video below to see them in action!

Now off you go to tell all of your friends that magic IS real because SCIENCE!