He famously sung about a boy named Sue, but now there’s a new species of black tarantula named after the late, great Johnny Cash. The species was found near Folsom Prison in California which Cash immortalised in his 1955 song ‘Folsom Prison Blues’ and where he also recorded a live album in 1968.
Johnny Cash now has a spider named after him.
Aphonopelma johnnycashi, to give it its proper name is one of 14 new tarantula species recently discovered by biologists in the southern US. All are members of the Aphonopelma family.
Speaking about the decision to name the spider after Cash, Dr Chris Hamilton, from the Florida Museum of Natural History told BBC News: “It’s found along the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada mountains, and one of the places that’s there is Folsom Prison.”
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“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. I have a Johnny Cash tattoo so I was very happy that it worked out that way.”
The A johnnycashi spider is described as having leg spans of six inches or more, their bite is venomous and painful however it is not considered dangerous. Dr Hamilton explained that he believes the species was not discovered before due to its similarity to other species of tarantula, such as Aphonopelma iodius.
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“They look fairly similar, particularly the females. The males, because they’re more black, they’re a little bit different. But if you were just looking at specimens that had been collected, and they were in a jar on a shelf, they would look pretty similar.”
“Once we looked at the genomics and looked at some of the ecological constraints, we could see this species was pretty unique and independent from the others that it’s closely related to,” Dr Hamilton added.
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