The new crustacean is now called "Leucothoe eltoni." The name is inspired by singer and actor Elton John
A new species of crustacean has been discovered in the coral reefs of Raja Ampat, an Indonesian island.
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Dr. James Thomas from the Holmes College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Florida and his colleagues found the new species inside a reef invertebrate in a commensal association, meaning crustacean was living there without causing harm or benefit to its host.
Thomas called it Leucothoe Eltoni, inspired by the name of singer and actor Elton John because his appendage resembled with the shoe Elton John wore in 1975 movie “Tommy”.
“I named the species in honor of Sir Elton John because I listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career,” Thomas explained. “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.”
The species is not confined to just Indonesia. It also exists in Philippines and Hawaiian island. It was most likely introduced to Hawaii waters when US navy dry dock brought it from Subic Bay, Philippines.
“Several years ago I was contacted by scientists from the Bishop Museum in Honolulu to help identify an unusual amphipod they have collected. It proved to be the same species as the one from Indonesia.”
The new shrimp-like crustacean is relatively small in size. It closely resembles with the species of genus paraleucothoe but its two-articulate maxilla makes it different from paraleucothoe and links it with genus Leucothoe.
Since not much information has been documented about the invertebrate hosts of leucothoid amphipods, the species could lead to more crucial information about reef health and authors of the study believe that “such studies show the importance of regular environmental monitoring, especially in tropical environment.”
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The study was published journal ZooKeys.