By Madelyn Kearns, Associate Editor
Published on Tuesday, September 01, 2015
A new species of shrimp-like crustacean has been named after the Pinball Wizard himself: Sir Elton John.
Known scientifically as Leucothoe eltoni, the recently-discovered species can be found swimming among the remote coral reefs of Raja Ampat, Indonesia. James Thomas, a researcher from Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, noticed that the species’ “greatly enlarged appendage” mirrored the shoes sported by a character Elton John played in the film “Tommy,” hence the name.
“I named the species in honor of Sir Elton John because I have listened to his music in my lab during mentire 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 (in the movie “Tommy”) came to mind.”
As is fitting considering its namesake, the Elton John crustacean has been found on the move beyond Indonesia’s corals, traveling as far as Hawaii, where it is considered invasive. According to Thomas and the rest of the founding research team, the Elton John crustaceans in question probably found their way to Hawaii by nestling inside a tunicate or sea sponge, which itself was most likely attached to a drydock being transported from the U.S. state to Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Currently, it is unknown what effects the new species has on other native marine life or how far it has spread in Hawaii, Thomas concluded.
Thomas’ study was published in the latest edition of the journal Zookeys: http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=5969
As the Inquisitor points out, Elton John has received five Brit Awards, six Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, a Tony Award, a Disney Legend Award and a Kennedy Center Honors Award in 2004. Only time will tell if these tiny, sea-bounder dancers will live up to the name and succeed in the Animal Kingdom, or quickly fade out, like candles in the wind.