Country music legend Willie Nelson has received an unusual honor.
He’s had a just-discovered species of grasshopper named after him.
Scientists discovered the flightless insect in Texas — where the veteran singer and actor was born 90 years ago.
Scientists say the central region of Texas is a known “hotspot” for biological wonders.
Melanoplus nelsoni — a new species of grasshopper named after Willie Nelson — is held by Dr. JoVonn Hill. Scientists discovered the flightless insect in Texas where the veteran singer and actor was born 90 years ago. (SWNS)
With this discovery, Dr. Hill paid tribute to Nelson and fellow country music icon Jerry Jeff Walker, who died in Texas in 2020 at age 78.
Hill — an assistant professor and director of the Mississippi Entomological Museum (MEM) at Mississippi State University — named two of the flightless grasshopper species in recognition of the “immense contributions” of the two Texas legends.
“Just like Mr. Nelson, we, too, have a little Texas in our souls.”
“After these last few summers [of field studies], just like Mr. Nelson, we, too, have a little Texas in our souls.”
Willie Nelson performs in concert during Farm Aid at Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek on Sept. 24, 2022, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Nelson was born in Hill Country, Texas, in 1933. (Gary Miller/Getty Images)
Of Melanoplus walkeri, he said, “Walker’s songs such as ‘Hill Country Rain,’ ‘Leavin’ Texas,’ and ‘Sangria Wine’ brought me and my field team joy while traveling between field sites and added to the amazing ambiance of the Edwards Plateau.”
The team also acknowledged the cultural heritage and deep connection to the region of the Comanche and Tonkawa tribes, naming two species of grasshopper after them as well, Melanoplus commanche and Melanoplus tonkawa, respectively.
“The formation of this new species group presents a significant contribution to our understanding of the diverse ecosystems present in central Texas.”
Dr. Hill holds a PhD in entomology in Mississippi State University and a master’s degree in agriculture and life science, also from Mississippi State University.
He notes further, “I consider myself both a taxon scientist and ecologist as most of my research entails documenting and describing the biogeography, diversity and ecology of the ant and grasshopper fauna of these habitats.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Dr. Hill for additional comment.