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A New Species of Catfish Is Named “Greedo” after Star Wars Bounty Hunter


Image credit: Peckoltia greedoi / Auburn University

Recently three new species of catfish armored with suckermouth have been found in South America and one of them gets its name after Greedo of Rodia, who is the mysterious but also disputed bounty hunter killed by Han Solo at Chalmun’s Spaceport Cantina in Episode IV.

The discovery of this unique catfish was made discovered in 1998 by researchers when they went along the GurupiRiver in Brazil. Later in 2005, Jonathan Armbruster and his team from Auburn University succeded in obtaining the specimen to prepare a paper focused on the genus Peckoltia. When studying its characteristics, one of arachnologist lab-mate of Armbruster surprisingly found that it actually appeared to have a look like that guy from Star Wars. With some prodding, Armbruster realized that it was Greedo, of whom he was talking.

So they named this specimen as Peckoltia greedoi after that guy. Having uniformly colored head without mottling or spots, this reddish-brown catfish was small-to medium-sized. Based on their examination, the biggest of the specimens was 7.8 centimeters long. From its sucker mouth, protruding bristles, and large, dark eyes, you could think it was really a nice fishy doppelganger for Greebo.

MID comparison

Apart from this one, Armbruster’s team also named the second catfish as Peckoltia lujani after a former graduate student, and the third one with the name of Peckoltia ephippiata because of the saddles on its back, as in Latin “ephippiata” meant being saddled. These two were discovered respectively in Venezuela and Brazil. All three were described in the latest issue of ZooKeys.

As Armbruster said, taxonomy is possibly the most important science in biology. Unfortunately scientists had failed to have completed cataloging all of the species discovered in local locations, especially in places like South America. Sometimes they thought the work just started. It was necessary for researchers to have more names for the discussion over anything about the biology of the organisms. That was the one branch of biology in which every biologist today were intended to use for their researches.
If you want to know more about how the naming worked, you should go watch the following video together with clips from Star Wars.

Images source: Auburn University via Flickr & Greedo picture courtesy starwarshelmets.com

Journal reference: Armbruster, Jonathan W., David C. Werneke, and Milton Tan. “Three new species of saddled loricariid catfishes, and a review of Hemiancistrus, Peckoltia, and allied genera (Siluriformes).” ZooKeys 480 (2015): 97.