Sir Elton John immortalized as a crustacean

In the coral reefs of Raja Ampat in Indonesia a new species of crustacean has been discovered, complete with the name L. Eltoni, named after Sir Elton John. This name comes from the discoverer of the creature, Dr. James Thomas from the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Florida. He suggests that there are two distinct reasons why this tiny crabby animal deserves the name, the first being that it looks like a pair of shoes Elton John wore one time.

Sir Elton John will likely be remembered for his music. Perhaps for his acting skills. But to a far lesser extent, as of this month, he'll be remembered as a very rare sea creature. The creature goes now by the name Leucothoe Eltoni – the second bit chosen by Dr. Thomas. According to Dr. Thomas, the following reasons fit for why he chose this name upon discovery:

1. "Because I have listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career."

2. "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 came to mind."

Behold, the strangeness of this scene from the 1975 film Tommy.

Since its first discovery, this odd creature has been identified as an "established invasive species" throughout the Hawaiian Islands. As Dr Thomas suggests, this species has (since discovery) been described from coral reef environment in tropical Indonesia and the Philippines as well.

"The most likely mode of introduction," said Thomas, "was a US Navy dry dock transported to Pearl Harbor in 1992 from Subic Bay, Philippines."

You can learn more about the innards of this creature in the paper "Leucothoe eltoni sp. n., a new species of commensal leucothoid amphipod from coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia (Crustacea, Amphipoda)" published in the journal ZooKeys in their August 25th issue under code doi: 10.3897/zookeys.518.9340. This article was authored by Dr James Thomas.