Anybody who’s read H.P. Lovecraft’s 1926 short story “The Call of Cthulhu” will live forever with the image of a gargantuan and gruesome beast that sleeps in the dark depths of the ocean and the subconscious. The Cthulhu, described by Lovecraft as a combination of “an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature… [with a] pulpy, tentacled head surmounted [on] a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings,” comes from the “nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh,” and rises from its slumber only to torment otherwise healthy minds, as well as slaughter sailors on a whim.
Then there’s Parasteatoda tepidariorum a.k.a. the common house spider, which… doesn’t really do any of that, but does look eerily similar to a baby Cthulhu when in its embryonic form.
The below image of P. tepidariorum in embryo was taken from a research study conducted by a team at Germany’s Göttingen University, which aimed to develop a better idea of the “embryonic origin of the eyes in the common spider.” The study, which found several interesting conclusions about spider eyes, including “[the] development of the [spider’s] individual lateral eyes [occurs] via the subdivision of one single eye primordium,” was published via BioMed Central, and can be found here.
As far as comparing P. tepidariorum to Cthulhu, you can do that by checking out some deviantART artists’ renderings of Lovecraft’s most famous twisted creation below:
What do you think about P. tepidariorum and its likeness to the Cthulhu? Is this spider embryo symbolic of some murky, subconscious horror that infests us all, or actually a quite huggable little arachno-baby? Let us know in the comments section below!
Feature Image: Göttingen University