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Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Luke Bryan are making a big splash together Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: Actor Dolly Parton during The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26592_012 (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT)

There are plenty of fish in the sea, and plenty of country stars in Nashville. But the Phoenix Zoo in Arizona has found a way to combine the two.

In the zoo’s stingray pool, the animals are named after country stars. But according to “azcentral,” choosing their names is far from a random process. They aren’t drawing names out of a cowboy hat. No, the keepers at the zoo (obviously country music fans) award the fish their names based on personalities, colors and other characteristics.

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And of course they have one named after hometown boy Dierks Bentley. “Dierks was the first, because he’s our local boy,” says stingray keeper Kelsey Ray. “The stingray we named after him is a little bit feisty. He has a big personality.”

The stingray named Luke Bryan is “pretty young, but he’s pretty social.” That fits.

There’s even a blue-spotted stingray from a species that originates in Australia. Can anyone guess what his name is? Yep — Keith Urban!

But the biggest female ray in the tank is appropriately named after the queen of country music, Dolly Parton. She also happens to be Luke Bryan’s mother.

Wait … that’s Luke and Dolly from the stingray tank, not Luke and Dolly from the Grand Ole Opry stage.

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Fans of country music and stingrays can get up close and personal with these cartilaginous fish (we looked it up on Wikipedia) as they swim in the zoo’s special tank. The keepers hope that this personal interaction will help folks better understand the animals and overcome their fear.

Seriously, who could be afraid of anything named after Luke, Dierks, Dolly, Carrie, Kenny, Keith, Tim, Faith or Willie?

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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