Meet the rock star of the shrimp world

Pictures: Arthur Anker

A newly-discovered species of shrimp has already claimed ‘rock star status’ by being named after the band Pink Floyd.

A glowing pink-clawed species of pistol shrimp, discovered on the Pacific coast of Panama, has been given the name in recognition of the discoverer’s favourite rock band.

The scientific name for the conspicuously coloured pistol shrimp, Synalpheus pinkfloydi, was published in Zootaxa journal on Wednesday last week.

Pistol shrimps, or snapping shrimps, have an ability to generate substantial amounts of sonic energy by closing their enlarged claw at rapid speed.

The sound it creates is one of the loudest in the ocean, and is strong enough to even kill a small fish.

Dr Sammy De Grave, Head of Research at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the report’s author, has been an avid fan of Pink Floyd.

He said: “I have been listening to Floyd since The Wall was released in 1979, when I was 14 years old.

“I’ve seen them play live several times since, including the Hyde Park reunion gig for Live 8 in 2005. The description of this new species of pistol shrimp was the perfect opportunity to finally give a nod to my favourite band.”

The newly identified species has a closely-related and similar-looking sister species, called Synalpheus antillensis.

The authors of the new paper found that the two species show considerable genetic divergence, granting new species status to S. pinkfloydi.

Animals feature frequently in the Floyd back-catalogue, with the 1977 album Animals featuring a track titled Dogs, Sheep, and a suite of music dedicated to pigs.

Other biologists have also named a damselfly after the album Umma gumma. Until last week, there have been no crustacean names known to honour the band.

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