A little known species of catfish from Brazil has been named in honour of Star Wars character Greedo with whom the fish shares a similarity.
The suckermouth armored catfish, Peckoltia greedoi, was found in 1998 by researchers along the Gurupi River in Brazil and specimens sent in 2005 to Jonathan Armbruster, biological sciences professor and curator of fishes for the Auburn University Museum of Natural History in Alabama to study. But it wasn’t until this year that the resemblance struck one of Ambruster’s colleagues, Chris Hamilton.
“Chris looked at the specimen and said ‘that looks like that guy from Star Wars,'” said Armbruster. “After a little prodding, I realised he was talking about Greedo. We then knew what the name had to be. The Peckoltia greedoi does bear a striking resemblance to Greedo.”
Ominously for the fish, Greedo, a bounty hunter, was killed by Han Solo in the first-released Star Wars movie, A New Hope.
Armbruster has described more than 40 species of fishes, but this is his first species to name after a character, he has honored friends and colleagues in the past.
He also described the P. ephippiata and P. lujani specimens collected in Brazil and Venezuela through his National Science Foundation All Catfish Species Inventory (ACSI) project.
“In biology, taxonomy is probably the most important science,” said Armbruster. “We have not even completed cataloging all of the species found locally, and in places like South America, it sometimes feels like we have barely started. We need names to be able to discuss anything about the biology of the organisms, and it is the one branch of biology used by every biologist alive.”
Greedo’s brief Star Wars appearance is shown in the video below in which Armbruster explains how he came up with the name.
Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.
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