Scientists have named a small maroon and gold fish species after the U.S. President Barack Obama which was discovered 300 feet deep in the waters off Kure Atoll in the Pacific ocean.
The fish, of the genus Tosanoides, was named in honour of Obama for his commitment to protecting nature through the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, researchers said.
It was discovered in June this year during a research trip to Kure, the world’s northernmost atoll. The fish is found only within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a World Heritage site encompassing 1,510,000 square kilometres of ocean waters, including ten islands and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
The site is the largest swath of protected land or water on Earth, and is home to millions of seabirds, endangered turtles, endangered monk seals, and more than 7,000 species.
Richard Pyle, a marine biologist at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, was underwater when he first saw a group of fish he did not recognise, the ‘National Geographic’ reported.
He collected a male specimen for further analysis. The female specimen was collected a few days later by Bishop Museum affiliate Brian Greene at an atoll about 249 km from Kure.
Researchers confirmed that the fish represented a new species, the first member of the genus Tosanoides found outside of the waters off Japan.
This is not the first fish to be named after Mr. Obama. A species of darters found only in the Duck River and the Buffalo River in U.S. was named Etheostoma obama in 2012.