Fourteen new species of tarantula have just been discovered in the southwestern U.S., including one named after the popular late singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. No seriously… there is a tarantula species now named Johnny Cash. “We often hear about how new species are being discovered from remote corners of the earth, but what is remarkable is that these spiders are in our own backyard,” Chris Hamilton, lead author of the study, said in a press release.
Many of the leggy spiders look alike, so the researchers had to employ a combination of anatomical, behavioral, distributional, and genetic data to tell the different species apart from one another. Johnny Cash the tarantula (Aphonopelma johnnycashi) was found near Folsom Prison, the subject of singer Cash’s song “Folsom Prison Blues.” The music star’s nickname, based on his distinctive dressing style, was the “man in black,” which led to another connection with his namesake spider. Mature males of the species are generally solid black in coloration.