A new species of Crustacean has been discovered and named after Elton John. The amphipod, Leucothoe eltoni, is found living inside sponges and tunicates in the Indo-Pacific and was named by lead scientist Dr. James Thomas because its large gnathopods reminded him of Elton’s shoes in Pinball Wizard.
In the field of taxonomy, a species can be named after people, features or a geographical location where it was discovered. Our own Principal Biologist, Dr Ruth Barnich, has discovered more than 20 new species of scaleworms and has named them after her mother, father, friends and colleagues whom she admires. (One of these, the Harmothoe mariannae from the North Sea, is pictured to the right of this article). In the laboratory Ruth manages the internal quality control process and is always on the lookout for new species or unusual occurrences of species from further afield.
We are currently working with several lead polychaete scientists around the world to try to find solutions to some problematic taxa and potentially describe new species.