Snowden of the Sea: Researchers Name New Crayfish After NSA Leaker

crayfish
German researchers name new species of crayfish after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Christian Lukhaup

Three German researchers just named a new species of crayfish after Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified information about vast government surveillance programs.

"We have so many species named after other famous people who probably don't do so much for humanity," Christian Lukhaup, one of the researchers, told The Washington Post of his name choice. "I wanted to show support for Edward Snowden. I think what he did is something very special."

The researchers described the newly discovered species in an article published Monday in the journal ZooKeys. The Cherax snowden, which had previously been misidentified as a similar species, comes from freshwater creeks in West Papau, Indonesia. The crayfish measures at just 3 to 4 inches in length and has green-and-orange pinchers.

Like its namesake, the crustacean has done a bit of traveling; human Snowden is currently living in asylum in Russia to avoid prosecution, and the crayfish has been exported to Europe, East Asia and North America as a colorful pet. While land-dwelling Snowden is hiding from the U.S., under-the-sea Snowden hides under rocks to avoid its biggest threat: collectors.

"According to local collectors, the populations of the species have been decreasing in the last few years," reported the ZooKeys article. "Clearly, the continued collecting of these crayfish for the trade is not a sustainable practice, and if the popularity of the species continues, a conservation management plan will have to be developed, potentially including a captive breeding program."

Snowden of the Sea: Researchers Name New Crayfish After NSA Leaker | Tech & Science