Johnny Cash has new black tarantula species named after him

The large spider can be found near Folsom Prison in California

Matt Payton@paytesy89
Friday 05 February 2016 11:59
Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash

A new species of tarantula found living near Folsom Prison in California has been named after rock and roll music legend Johnny Cash.

One of Cash's early hit records, Folsom Prison Blues was inspired by the prison. He even performed inside the walls to inmate recorded a live album inside its walls performing to inmates.

Named Aphonopelma johnnycashi, the black tarantula is among 14 new species that have now been codified by biologists in a ZooKeys journal.

A female Aphonopelma johnnycashi

Journal author, Dr Chris Hamilton, completed this research as part of his PhD at Auburn University in Alabama.

He told the BBC: "It's found along the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada mountains, and one of the places that's there is Folsom Prison

"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."

Male Aphonopelma johnnycashi

Dr Hamilton explained that new species do not always come from areas of the world previously unknown to biologists.

He added: "A lot of people think of new species as coming from areas of the Earth that not many humans have been to before... but that's really frankly not the case.

"The majority of species, described or undescribed, have probably already been collected

"They're sitting on shelves waiting to be discovered."

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