Aptostichus stephencolberti is found on coastal dunes that extend from the Big Sur area to the San Francisco peninsula at Point Lobos and Golden Gate. Compared to closely related species such as Aptostichus angelinajolieae (named after Angelina Jolie), Aptostichus stephencolberti is lighter in color. The male holotype and the female paratype both have brownish yellow legs, carapace and chelicerae, while the abdomen is lighter with dusky stripes. The male has six teeth, while the female has five.
The spider was named after Colbert after he reported on his television series The Colbert Report that Jason Bond, a professor of biology at East Carolina University, named a different species of spider Myrmekiaphila neilyoungi, after the Canadian rock star Neil Young. Colbert was angered by the fact that Bond had not named a spider after him, and began to appeal for a species of animal to be named after him. He claimed that he already had an eagle and a turtle named after him (although not taxonomically), so there was no reason that another animal could not be named after him as well.
On a later edition of The Colbert Report, Colbert revealed that Bond would name a spider after him, with Colbert claiming, "And all I had to do was shamelessly beg on national television." The two men talked on the telephone to decide which spider should be the one to be so named, but as there were 27 different species of spider available, Bond was left to make the final choice.
The name Aptostichus stephencolberti was officially announced as the spider named after Colbert on The Colbert Report on August 6, 2008. Because Colbert pronounces his surname with a silent "T", the last "T" in stephencolberti is also silent.
- Bond, Jason; Amy Stockman (2008). "An Integrative Method for Delimiting Cohesion Species: Finding the Population-Species Interface in a Group of Californian Trapdoor Spiders with Extreme Genetic Divergence and Geographic Structuring". Systematic Biology 57 (4): 628–646. doi:10.1080/10635150802302443. PMID 18686196.
- Bond, Jason. "How to Name a Species - Taxonomy and Why it is Important". East Carolina University. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- Melago, Carrie (2008-08-01). "California spider named for Stephen Colbert". The New York Daily News. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
- "May 14, 2008: Who's NOT Honoring Me Now". The Colbert Report. Season 4. 2008-05-14.
- "July 29, 2008". The Colbert Report. Season 4. 2008-07-29.
- "June 24, 2008". The Colbert Report. Season 4. 2008-06-24.
- "August 6, 2008". The Colbert Report. Season 4. 2008-08-06.
- "Trapdoor spider becomes Colbert's namesake". MSNBC. 2008-07-31. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-03.
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