February 20

Johnny Cash Shares Name with a Species of Black Tarantula

In a study conducted by Dr. Chris Hamilton of the Florida Museum of Natural History, he identified 14 new tarantula species and named one of these after the country music legend Johnny Cash.

Aphonopelma johnnycashi was the name given to a black tarantula species found living near Folsom Prison in California. It was one of the 14 new classes of tarantula from the southern US that biologists described in the ZooKeys journal which was published in 2016. 

Black Tarantula, Johnny Cash, Aphonopelma johnnycashi
Photo credit: inatulalist.org

The Black Tarantula Named After Johnny Cash

There are two things about this little creature that made Dr. Hamilton name it after the late country singer. First is its color. Cash has been dubbed as the “Man in Black” for the black suit that he usually wears during concerts and shows. This nickname also served as the title of his 38th album and its lead track.

Johnny Cash, Man in Black, Folsom Prison, Black Tarantula
Photo credit: Johnny Cash/Official Facebook Page

Aside from its color, the tarantula species was also found living near Folsom Prison in California. This same place was where Cash played a historic series of concerts for inmates in the 1960s. His 1955 hit “Folsom Prison Blues” was one of the songs he had sung during his performances at the said detention cell. These performances also inspired the country icon to record a live album. The resulting album was no other than his 27th record entitled At Folsom Prison. Columbia Records released it in May 1968.

In an interview, Dr. Hamilton explained how Aphonopelma johnnycashi was discovered and what made him decide to name the creature after Cash.

“It’s found along the foothills of the western Sierra Nevada mountains, and one of the places that’s there is Folsom Prison.” 

He added,

“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.”

Johnny Cash’s Most Recent Legacy

Earlier this month, the news about a Johnny Cash kitchen and saloon to be opening soon in Nashville began making rounds on several media sites. That was perhaps the latest addition to the long list of Johnny Cash’s legacy. The venue of the themed restaurant is expected to open late Spring this year.


Johnny Cash

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