Thursday, February 18, 2016

Celebrity spiders


Black tarantula
image copyright Chris A. Hamilton
Recently I came across a news items that I thought was interesting.   A new tarantula was discovered near Folsom Prison in California.  The all black critter has been named after the gothic dressing and prison loving rebel Johnny Cash. 
Then I got to thinking how many other spiders have been named for celebrities and a google search yielded a web full.  Yes, - Aphonopelma johnnycashi  has lots of company among spiders named for celebrities.  Lets look at some other examples shall we?
Calponia harrisonfordi is a species of spider discovered in 1993 by the arachnologist Norman I. Platnick, and named after the film actor Harrison Ford Here is a picture - does not look nearly as big, black or impressive as Johnny's spider.
Then of course there is a spider for the late great David Bowie. Hailing from Malaysia, this bright orange spider with long orange hairs actually bears a resemblance to its namesake.  Too bad they could not find a spider from Mars. Here is a picture of the two of them together.
Heteropoda davidbowie with David Bowie. 
The Angelina Jolie spider is of the trapdoor variety.  She leaps from her den and injects her prey with venom. The spider that is, not Angelina. It lives in California with many other celebrity spiders. 
I could go on - Stephen Colbert, Neil Young, Frank Zappa, and Orson Wells also have spiders named for them.  But you know  what? I am getting a little tired of this subject.  Perhaps next time I will discuss the lucky celebrity for whom a louse was named.