Johnny Cash / YouTube
Since Johnny Cash was such an influential figure in the music industry, it’s no surprise that people would want to name special things in his honor. But we’re sure even the “Man in Black” himself never imagined that he would share his namesake with a creepy crawly critter.
According to The Discovery Channel, fourteen new species of tarantula were discovered in the southwestern U.S. in 2016. One of the new species was found near Folsom Prison in California, which was the subject of Cash’s popular song “Folsom Prison Blues,” prompting researchers to name the tarantula after him.
Another reason why this particular species of tarantula was named after Cash is because the males are generally solid black in color. Since Cash is known as the “Man in Black” it only seemed fitting to researchers to name the tarantula after him.
Chris Hamilton, a researcher at the Florida Museum of Natural History and lead author of the tarantula study, spent over ten years searching for the new tarantula species. The results showed that there are a total of 29 known tarantula species in the U.S., only 15 of which were known prior to the study.
Many people have a fear of tarantulas due to their large size and painful bite. However, Hamilton wants people to know that tarantulas are not all that dangerous, calling them “teddy bears with eight legs.”
We wonder what Cash would have to say about his namesake tarantula? You can listen to him perform “Folsom Prison Blues” below, which is part of the reason why the newly discovered tarantula was named in his honor.
Now if only the tarantula could sing like Cash, because that would really be something!