While new animal species continue to be discovered each and every day, perhaps one of the most interesting discoveries as of late is this new species of pistol shrimp that has been named after the British rock band Pink Floyd.
Dubbed Synalpheus pinkfloydi, its name comes from its abnormally large and bright pink claw, known as a pistol. The creature was discovered just off the coast of Panama on the Pacific side. The complete findings were published in the journal Zootaxa on April 12th.
Image Credit: Arthur Anker
The shrimp is quite similar in features to another species known as Synalpheus antillensis, which was originally discovered on the Atlantic side of Panama back in 1909; in case you were wondering, it too has quite a large pistol. On the other hand, the similar species has a different genetic makeup, so there was reason enough to list Synalpheus pinkfloydi as a new species.
Of all the names that could have been chosen however, why name the newly-discovered creature after the band Pink Floyd? Study co-author Dr Sammy De Grave from the Oxford University Museum of National History has an answer for that:
"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 Live8 in 2005. The description of this new species of pistol shrimp was the perfect opportunity to finally give a nod to my favorite band," De Grave explained in a statement.
And De Grave wasn’t the only researcher who approved of the name… other researchers involved in the study also take a liking to the band Pink Floyd, so the name just happened to stick.
The shrimp’s pistol can create sounds underwater that are loud enough to disorient or kill small fish. It does this by opening and closing its claw so quickly that a loud burst of sonic energy is released.
A statement released by Oxford University notes that the sound is made possible by a cavitation bubble that’s created inside the pistol from being closed so quickly. A high-pressure zone is generated inside the pistol, allowing the cavitation bubble to implode. This ultimately results in the loud noise.
If you're curious about how a pistol shrimp's pistol works, a brilliant slow motion video below illustrates how quickly a pistol (on another species) closes and how the speed of the claw closing actually rips apart the water around it:
Astonishingly, this just might be one of the loudest noises in the ocean, as the sound can reportedly reach close to 210 decibels. For comparison, an average gunshot is anywhere from 140-190 decibels.
Source: Oxford University