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Elton John Now Has a Species of Shrimp Named After Him and It's Glorious

Mountains crumble. Stars die. And nations rise and fall. But having your own species of crustacean named after you? That shit is eternal.
September 4, 2015, 2:00pm

Mountains crumble. Stars die. And nations rise and fall. But having your own fucking species of crustacean named after you? That shit is eternal. Who the hell in their right mind would want a bridge or disease named after them when they could submerge their eponymous animal species into a shooter glass of cocktail sauce?

So it should only make sense that enduring superstar and overall badass Sir Elton John now and forevermore actually has a recently discovered species of shrimp-like crustaceans named after him.

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Its name? Leucothoe eltoni. Also known as The Elton John Shrimp. Do you think it's possible to get that written out in rhinestones somewhere on my body?

Bedazzling aside, the newfound prawn-stars were first discovered inside another invertebrate—a solitary tunicates, also known as a sea squirt (I am not making these names up). That creature had attached itself to a coral reef close to the Raja Ampat province of Indonesia. The new crustacean was found in its branchial chambers. You never know where you'll find a new tiny dancer!

Photo by James Thomas

Leucothoe eltoni. Photo by James Thomas

However, it wasn't until James Thomas, a researcher from the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography viewed the invertebrate under a microscope that he noticed the shrimp. He claims that the part of the crustacean that he first saw—a "greatly enlarged appendage"—immediately reminded him of a pair of shoes worn by Elton John in the 1975 classic Tommy.

Evidently Mr. Thomas is a big fan.


Thomas went on to say, "When this unusual crustacean … appeared under my microscope after a day of collection, an image of the shoes Elton John wore as the 'Pinball Wizard' came to mind." OK—maybe we wouldn't all equate a large, exoskeletal appendage to Elton's John's shoes, but sure, why not?

"I named the species in honor of Sir Elton John because I have listened to his music in my lab during my entire scientific career," Thomas continued.

And so the Leucothoe eltoni was christened. Scientists known as taxonomists study and name new species, and they can choose those names based on, well, whatever they like.

Naming species—especially crustaceans, for some reason—after celebrities is quite popular. And musicians and shrimp seem to go together like camarones and ajillo.

Freddie Mercury, Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, and Beethoven all have crustaceans named after them. Say hello to Cirolana mercury, Gnathia marleyi, Mesoparapylocheles michaeljacksoni, and Gnathia beethoveni.

The bottom line is this: Forget Grammies or even EGOTs. If you have a species named after you, you live forever—barring nasty details like extinction, of course.

So now the sun will literally never go down on Elton John. All thanks to the shoes he wore in Tommy.