Johnny Cash has a new namesake and it’s got eight legs.
Biologists have discovered 14 new species of U.S. tarantula, which is terrifying news for those of us that thought tarantulas were of a single genus, and that that was already more than enough. Personification tempers fear, though, and now we can call a spider Johnny Cash.
Chris Hamilton, a postdoctoral researcher at the Florida Museum of National History, and two other scientists have spent more than ten years attempting to clean up the tarantula’s Aphonopelma taxonomy. The team discovered one particularly black species in the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada Mountains, a region best known for housing the infamous Fulsom Prison. It wasn’t a stretch of the imagination, then, to name the newly discovered spider after the Man in Black who famously played a concert at that same prison in 1968.
“It’s a perfect name. It fits the spider – it’s found around Folsom and the males are predominantly all black, so it fits his image,” Hamilton told BBC. “I have a Johnny Cash tattoo so I was very happy that it worked out that way.”
Cash isn’t the first iconic singer to get a spider named after him; in 2014, John Lennon became the namesake of Bumba lennoni, a species of tarantula native to Brazil. Likewise, David Bowie got his Heteropoda davidbowie in 2009. Check out Cash’s eight-legged friend here.
Apparently getting a spider named after you is all the rage these days. Whose name should the next newly discovered species of tarantula bear? Let us know what you think in the comments below.
IMAGE: DeviantArt: denisosulli