A recent study revealed new tarantula species. Among them, one species prompted the lead author to state that the new man in black is a tarantula named Johnny Cash.
Scientists discovered 14 new species of tarantulas in the U.S. One of them seems to be different from the others: the males are all black. This led the researchers to name it after the singer Johnny Cash. Famous for songs like I Walk the Line, Hurt, Ring of Fire, Johnny Cash was known for his habit of dressing all in black while performing in concerts.
Therefore, he was given the nickname ‘Man in Black’. The place where researchers found the tarantula was near Folsom Prison. This is a place that made Johnny Cash famous due to his hit, Folsom Prison Blues. In other words, scientists chose to name the newly discovered spider Aphonopelma johnnycahi. The team which conducted this study was led by evolutionary biologist, Chris Hamilton.
During their research they found interesting facts about already known tarantula species. For example, they determined that 40 previously listed species were not actually individual species. What’s more, the research team revealed a species of really small tarantulas they decided to name Aphonopelma atomicum. However, little is known about these animals due to the fact that they do not possess too many distinguishing features.
Even professionals believe that these creatures can be very difficult to tell apart. Moreover, tarantulas are not easily found. They live in different areas; some of them are in remote mountains which makes things even harder for those who want to study them.
Nonetheless, Hamilton thinks that the newly discovered man in black was not previously recognized because of its similarities with other species. He said the animal resembles Aphonopelma iodius, which lives in the Mojave desert further south.
Before starting this study, Hamilton had a very different opinion about spiders. He said that he feared them so, in order to face his fear, he decided to get a tarantula as a pet. This made him fall in love with these creatures. As such, he decided to study them more thoroughly. Hamilton has also a Johnny Cash tattoo, so perhaps that made things easier when choosing a name for the tarantula.
The fact that the new man in black is a tarantula named Johnny Cash is probably the most attention-grabbing detail of this study.
Photo Credits: Wikimedia