Newly discovered fish named after Obama

Tosanoides obama.— Photo: Richard L. Pyle/Bishop Museum  

After a trapdoor spider, a speckled freshwater darter (fish), a parasitic hairworm and an extinct lizard, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama now has a new species bearing his name.

Scientists have named pink-and-yellow coral-reef fish — found exclusively within the protected area in Hawaii — in honour of Mr. Obama. The fish now bears the formal scientific name Tosanoides obama .

The fish was discovered during a June 2016 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration expedition to Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Hawaiian Islands.

On August 26, at the urging of the Hawaii Democrat Senator Brian Schatz, and various conservationists and marine scientists, Mr. Obama had expanded the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. At 15,08,870, it is the largest permanent marine protected area on Earth.

“We decided to name this fish after President Obama to recognise his efforts to protect and preserve the natural habitat, including its expansion,” said lead author Richard Pyle, Bishop Museum scientist.

Last great wilderness

“The expansion of Papahanaumokuakea adds a layer of protection to one of the last great wilderness areas on Earth,” Mr. Pyle added. Male Tosanoides obamas have a distinctive spot on the dorsal fin near the tail, which is blue around the edge and red with yellow stripes in the centre.

“It is reminiscent of President Obama’s campaign logo so seemed especially appropriate for the fish to be named in honour of the President,” Mr. Pyle said. The species was first collected on a dive of 91 metres depth at Kure Atoll, 1,930 kilometres northwest of Honolulu.

It is special because it is the only known species of coral reef fish endemic to the Monument. — IANS