Black Tarantula Found In US Named After Singer Johnny Cash

Posted: Feb 5 2016, 6:19am CST | by , Updated: Feb 5 2016, 7:09am CST, in News | Latest Science News

Johnny Cash is the Name of New Black Tarantula
Credit: Dr. Chris A. Hamilton
  • Newly Discovered Species of Tarantula given Country Singer Johnny Cash’s Name

Johnny Cash Tarantula Found in US: A novel species of tarantula – that big hairy spider that is scary – was given country singer Johnny Cash’s name. It was one among 14 new species that have been discovered recently.

Johnny Cash was the original Man in Black. Scientists who discovered many species of tarantulas on US soil named one that was black in color after Johnny Cash.

The country singer of fame and fortune was known for such songs as “I Walk the Line”, “Ring of Fire” and “A Boy Named Sue”. He had another habit and that was that he wore all black ensembles during his rollicking performances. This earned him the epithet of the Man in Black.

The species named after Johnny Cash was termed Aphonopelma johnnycashi. The strange coincidence is that this black tarantula was found from around the loci of Folsom Prison.

This was the same penitentiary from which Johnny Cash sang his “Folson Prison Blues” which was a song to remember. It was a three person group that decided to set out and discover new species of tarantulas in the United States.

There had been a lot of confusion regarding misidentified tarantulas and so these bold and intrepid researchers set out to go where no one had gone before.

Over a period of ten years, they scoured the highways and byways of the US of A and spent many hours doing fieldwork and lab analyses. It was more of a road trip to end all other road trips.

The tarantula bearing Johnny Cash’s name was the coolest of the lot. Another case is of a tarantula found in Brazil that was given John Lennon’s name. The Beatles thus live on via this commemoration.

The collection of Aphonopelma tarantulas began and over 3000 were examined in the process. Many were even mailed to these experts who spent back-breaking periods of time doing what they could for the sake of science.

The various tarantulas inhabited different habitats. They were found in hot and cold regions and in deserts and also among lush forests. It just goes to show you what a wide range of environmental niches they could adapt to.

Furthermore, the thin line between a new species and an old one was difficult if not impossible to identify. While tarantulas have appeared in movies such as Home Alone, not much work has been done on them.

That gap was bridged by these fearless researchers. The all-black tarantula was the most popular one due to its name being in memory of Johnny Cash.

The study was published online on Thursday, February 4th, in the journal ZooKeys.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
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