A newly discovered shrimp honors the legacy of Elton John, after having been named `Leucothoe eltoni`.
The crustacean’s habitat is in the coral reef of Raja Ampat in Indonesia, but the shrimp was also encountered in the Hawaiian coral reef. The discovery was made by a team led by Dr. James Thomas, of the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Florida. The species was given this special name due to the fact that Thomas had been a longtime fan of the British singer’s music.
‘When this unusual crustacean with a greatly enlarged appendage appeared under my microscope after a day of collecting, an image of the shoes Elton John wore as the Pinball wizard came to mind’, explained the researcher.
It is surprising that this species which is normally encountered in Indonesia was also found in the Hawaiian state, but scientists believe it managed to reach Kaneohe Bay, Oahu as an invasive hitchhiker.
The crustacean’s home is inside the `branchial chambers of solitary tunicates’, which means that it attaches itself to the tentacles of other organisms. It lives inside the invertebrate in a commensal relationship, without being beneficial or detrimental to it in any way. That is exactly how it arrived in Hawaii, namely by travelling inside a host sponge fixed on a dry dock being transported from the Subic Bay in the Philippines.
So far, researchers are undecided what impact this newly discovered shrimp may have on its native neighbors, which is why they have recommended regular monitoring of the ecosystem, in order to identify any changes brought about by this addition.
This isn’t the first time a new species has been named after a celebrity. Taxonomists, who have the honor of picking a denomination for the organisms they discover, usually make decisions based on the species’ location or features. However, sometimes they choose to express their appreciation for a certain musician or actor when imagining a name.
For instance, a now-extinct reptile which used to live in the Southeast Asian forests was named Barbaturex morrisoni, after the Door’s frontman Jim Morisson. Similarly, a Carribean parasitic crustacean was called Gnathia marleyi, in honor of Reggae artist Bob Marley. Also, last year, a water mite was named Litarachna lopezae, in celebration of Jennifer Lopez, while a wasp was called Aleiodes Shakirae, because it reminded scientists of Shakira’s dance moves.
The results of the study announcing the discovery of ‘Leucothoe eltoni` were published in the ZooKeys journal.
Image Source: Sci News