Man In Black: Tarantula Species Named After Johnny Cash

  • by: Jeremy Smith

Scientists have named a newly discovered species of tarantula after country music legend Johnny Cash. Aphonopelma johnnycashi was discovered in California near Folsom prison, which the musician made famous in his song "Folsom Prison Blues".

The spider measures up to six inches across, and the colouring brings to mind the "Man In Black". The mature males are solid black.

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Dr Chris Hamilton, from the Florida Museum of Natural History, who named the spider, said: "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.

"With the Earth in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, it is astonishing how little we know about our planet's biodiversity, even for charismatic groups such as tarantulas."

Hamilton stressed that despite their fearsome appearance, US tarantulas were harmless. Their bite, though venomous and painful, is not considered dangerous. He described the creatures as "teddy bears with eight legs".

The story originally appeared on The Guardian website.

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Jeremy Smith is from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and currently resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is an editor at Lead Stories, www.leadstories.com, mainly focusing on debunking hoax stories. 

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