Dark Side of the Sea: A Shrimp Species Has Been Named After Pink Floyd

Researchers discover a new species of shrimp with a pink snapping claw, which they aptly named after Pink Floyd.
Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters gestures during a concert at Zocalo square in Mexico City, Mexico, October 1. A newly discovered species of shrimp with a pink snapping claw has been named after Pink Floyd. Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

Deep down in the Pacific Ocean live shrimp that makes so much noise with their fluorescent pink claws, nearby sea creatures sometimes die just from the sound of it. In fact, the sonic energy the shrimp generate when opening and closing their large, brightly colored claws makes sounds that can be louder than Roger Waters's bass guitar, which is just one of the reasons the newly discovered species was named after Pink Floyd, the legendary rock band.

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The Synalpheus pinkfloydi was discovered by a team of researchers off the Pacific coast of Panama. It is considered a pistol shrimp because of its enlarged, glow-in-the-dark pink claw that snaps at a rapid speed, forming a high-pressure cavitation bubble. The noise released by the claw's snapping can reach up to 210 decibels—one of the loudest sounds in the sea, and one capable of stunning or even killing small fish swimming nearby.

The noise and shade of the Synalpheus pinkfloydi's claw are what led researchers from the Universidade Federal de Goiás in Brazil, Oxford University Museum of National History and Seattle University to name it after the English rock band. Not to mention, the scientists behind the discovery were die-hard Floyd fans just waiting to name a new pink shrimp after the band, if they could ever find one.

"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," Sammy De Grave, head of research at Oxford University Museum of National History, said in a statement.

De Grave is known for naming crustaceans after rock 'n' roll hall-of-famers, including the Elephantis jaggerai, named after Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger.

Synalpheus pinkfloydi isn't the only shrimp with a snapping claw. Its cousin, Synalpheus antillensis, was found in the western Atlantic and on the Caribbean side of Panama back in 1909. However, the claw is one of very few attributes the shrimp share, which is why the Synalpheus pinkfloydi was deemed a new species.

The researchers published their findings in the journal Zootaxa on Wednesday.

Dark Side of the Sea: A Shrimp Species Has Been Named After Pink Floyd | Tech & Science