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johnnycashiA newly discovered tarantula was found near the Folsom State prison in Folsom, California; Johnny Cash made a song called “Folsom Prison Blues” and coincidentally, the song was recorded in Folsom, California as well. The male Aphonoplema johnnycashi is generally black which is similar to Cash’s tendency to dress in black. Females are more of a dark brown color and are much larger than the males.

gagaIn all good fun, there is a logical reason as to why these new species are named after famous celebrities. For example, in 2012 a new wasp was discovered and the molecular data of the species happened to spell the acronym G-A-G-A. This led to the species to be named Aleiodes gaga, after pop-star and actress, Lady Gaga. This drew the attention of many news outlets and it was cited at least 30,000 times within the 24 hours of the announcement being made. Every year, at least 20,000 species are lost at an unprecedented rate; giving the species names that are similar to a celebrity’s allows for the work of the environmental experts to not go unnoticed, but it also spreads awareness about the biodiversity crisis.




Drake, Samantha. “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash the tarantula: Why new species are named after celebrities“. Quartz. 23 June 2016. Web. 30 June 2016. <>