According to a recent study published in the journal ZooKeys, a team of researchers has discovered a new shrimp-link coral crustacean species in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Since the “greatly enlarged appendage” of the crustacean reminded its discoverer James Thomas of a character played by Elton John in a movie, the species has been named after the veteran actor.
The Discovery News reported that the crustacean has been named Leucothoe eltoni. When a new species is discovered, the taxonomist and scientists have an upper hand in deciding the name of the organism, which usually depends on the location of the creature or its features. However, sometimes it is named after a person of the discoverer's liking.
"I named the species in honor of Sir Elton John because I have listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career," Thomas said in a press release. "So, 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."
Leucothoe eltoni was discovered by a team of researchers from the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Florida and the Naturalis Natural History in The Netherlands. The creature was found living in “the branchial chambers of solitary tunicates,” that is, inside one of the tube-resembling structure of another marine organism living in the coral reef of Raja Ampat.
In addition to Indonesia, the creature has also been found in Hawaii. The researchers' team believes that the little organism hitched a ride inside another organism or sponge and got transported to Hawaii from the Philippines, making it an “invasive” species. The transportation was facilitated by the different modes of travel and the timing of the arrival of the species.