A new species of venomous snake has been named in honor of Metallica guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield. The snake, dubbed Atheris hetfieldi, lives at the base of a volcano on Bioko island in Equatorial Guinea and is described as having "a triangular-shaped head and strongly-keeled scales, which gives them a dragon-like appearance, which certainly is consonant with the image of a singer of an Heavy Metal band."
"Both me and Mariana Marques, the second author of the paper, are big fans of Metallica and James Hetfield since a very young age," said leading scientist Dr. Luis Ceríaco to Metal Hammer.
"We wanted to honor him, as a thank you for all the good vibes his music has transmitted to us during all of our personal lives and careers. Also, we think that a mysterious venomous and cool looking snake, who lives in the base of a volcano lost in the middle of the tropical forest is very relatable to heavy metal! On another hand, naming a new species after someone as James brings more attention to the much needed biodiversity studies and field surveys. We are in race against the extinction of a large proportion of the world’s biodiversity, and many species may go extinct before we even know they exist!"
This is hardly the first time metal has made its way into the naming conventions for new species. Nightwish had a species of crab named after them, Ozzy Osbourne had a bat frog named after him, and members of Iron Maiden, Scorpions, and Angra have all had spiders named after them.