There are certain honors artists can receive throughout their lives, but it likely wasn’t expected that this one would be achieved, as the new crustacean discovered can feel the love tonight after being named for Sir Elton John.
James Thomas of the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, who discovered the new species, dubbed Leucothoe eltoni or L. eltoni, has implied that the honor is nothing but complimentary. As a big Elton John fan, the researcher claims that he often listened to the pop legend’s albums while working in his lab.
The newly uncovered crustacean has a shape that looked like a shrimp, but comparable to the singer’s odd shoes as The Pinball Wizard in the movie adaptation of the opera “Tommy”.
L. eltoni was discovered within the Indonesian coral reef, living in another invertebrate, with whom it holds a parasitic relationship called “commensal association”. It implies that the host remains completely unaffected by the parasite, and neither benefits nor loses anything in the process.
After the bizarre looking creature was discovered in Raja Ampat, scientists in Hawaii have made claims about the crustacean as being an invasive species, with the emphasis that it does not truly affect the host’s health or life in any way.
It’s seemingly a trend of new creatures being named by their discoverers as famous people they either admire or passively seek to undermine. Perhaps there is a deeper metaphor in naming a parasitic sea creature after Sir Elton John, but in this case, it does certainly seem that Thomas is simply an admirer.
Another species have also been discovered in Indonesia and given a famous name. The Cherax snowden crayfish was found in 2006, and named after Edward Snowden, who became the subject of news worldwide after making public secret documents of the National Security Agency.
However, others have not been as kind. Robert Krulwish, a science writer, made public an article back in 2008 where he explained and gave examples on how certain discoveries were not complimentary to their namesake. Such as a worm species that was named Khruschevia Ridicula, in mocking ‘honor’ of a scientist who hated the Communist Party.
The metaphor and name are clearly not indicating a compliment there, and it certainly has not been the last. Another example offered was a weed named by botanist Carl Linneaus, Siegesbeckia, in retaliation to one of his greatest critics.
It could be a high honor, an amusing fact or a harsh critique, but either way, these famously named creatures will remain in history for generations to come. Perhaps there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Image source: nerdsandnomsense.com