The discovery of a new species of pistol shrimp off the coast of Panama by a team of researchers including Dr Sammy De Grave of Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History was announced yesterday.
The news made headlines across the world – partly because of the shrimp’s bright pink claw, but also because Dr De Grave and his colleagues decided to name the shrimp Synalpheus pinkfloydi after the band Pink Floyd.
This gave journalists the chance to flex their headline-writing muscles. ‘Shrimp found on the Dark Side of the Lagoon,’ said the Oxford Times. Many went for the less imaginative ‘Shrimp Floyd’.
In trying to think of a headline for this article, Arts Blog came up with Brine On You Crazy Diamond, Goodbye Krill World, Fish You Were Here, Dark Side Of The Tuna and Another Shrimp In The Wall. All ended up in the bin.
Although this all seems like a lot of fun, naming the shrimp after Pink Floyd actually helped Dr De Grave and his team to get across the shrimp’s features: by closing its enlarged claw at rapid speed, the shrimp creates a high-pressure cavitation bubble.
When this bubble implodes, it creates one of the loudest sounds in the ocean, which is strong enough to stun or even kill a small fish.
That never happened to any of Pink Floyd’s fans who stood next to the amps during a gig.