A newly discovered species of Hawaiian coral reef fish has been named after President Barack Obama – the second fish to be named in honor of America's 44th president.
The honor wasn't bestowed frivolously: Tosanoides obama, as the fish is now formally known, was discovered by divers exploring the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. Established in 2006, the protected area was expanded to roughly four times its original size in August of 2016 in an initiative spearheaded by President Obama. The expanded Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is the second-largest marine protected area on the planet.
Researchers led by Hawaii-based marine biologist Richard Pyle were exploring 300 feet below the ocean surface off Kure Atoll, located 55 miles west of Midway Atoll, when they spied a school of orange and pink fishes. The tiny fish measured just 1.5 inch in length and further investigation determined they belonged to a previously unknown species. "The spot on the males is reminiscent of President Obama's campaign logo," stated Pyle. "It seemed especially appropriate for a fish named in honor of the president." The fact that Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii may also have factored into the naming.
During a recent visit to Midway Atoll, Obama was presented with a framed plaque of his namesake species by Sylvia Earle, Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic and a renowned marine conservationist. (via Science Alert, EurekAlert, and Nature World News)