A new tarantula discovered in Mexico has been named after a man that gets about as close to actually being a spider as one can. The man in question is Eagle Scout and world-renowned speleologist Bill Steele. In order to understand exactly why this man was given this honor, it might be important for you to know the man a bit better first.


Bill Steele is a Distinguished Eagle Scout, having worked for the Boy Scouts of America for 34 years, and only retiring in 2014 after serving as the national director for alumni relations as well as the National Eagle Scout Association. Steele clearly loved the outdoors. Retirement couldn’t stop Steele from continuing to study the outdoors and make a name for himself. After retiring Steele decided to go underground, and not in the hiding from the mafia kind of “underground”. He began to spend much of his time in the caves of Mexico, where he basically launched a whole new career. His expeditions inside the caves located in Mexico led him to places that no other human had ever dared explore. These expeditions have been documented in books, articles in major research journals, and even inclusion in certain television shows, like National Geographic Explorer.


In turn, he discovered many of the cave-dwelling tarantulas in Mexico. These tarantulas would have likely never been found were it not for Steele. So, in honor of his contribution to the discovery of the cave-dwelling tarantulas in Mexico, a recently discovered cave-dwelling tarantula species in Mexico has been named after him. According to the research paper on the discovery, the billsteelei tarantula honors Steele “for his contribution to the knowledge of Mexican caves and his help in the collection of cave tarantulas and other arachnids in the Huautla Cave System.”


Meet the Hemirrhagus billsteelei tarantula. While Steele spends a lot of his time in the caves of Mexico, the billsteelei tarantula spends all of its time there. This tarantula can grow to a respectable length of 6 to 8 inches and is a genus of the spiders found throughout Mexico. Other than that, it pretty much looks like every other black, furry tarantula you’ve ever seen.


Have you ever went exploring in a cave and found an insect or spider that you didn’t recognize? What did it look like and did you find out what it was?


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