Introducing the 'Obama-fish'

November 30, 2012

Scientists discover new fish, name it after Obama

the Spangled Darter (Etheostoma obama) from Tennessee
The Spangled Darter (Etheostoma obama) from Tennessee is named after President Barack Obama. Illustration by Joe Tomelleri

Scientists have named five newly discovered fish after former and current U.S. political leaders, including President Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, and Teddy Roosevelt, reports the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute and Scientific American.

The fish were formerly described earlier this month in the journal the Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History.

The fish are all species of darter, a group that is found widely in the United States. The species were identified after research on the Speckled Darter (Etheostoma stigmaeum) concluded that it could be divided into nine separate species, five of which are now named after U.S. leaders. These include the Spangled Darter (Etheostoma obama) from Tennessee; the Cumberland Darter (Etheostoma gore) and the Bluegrass Darter (Etheostoma jimmycarter) from Tennessee and Kentucky; the Highland Darter (Etheostoma teddyroosevelt) from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma; and the Beaded Darter (Etheostoma clinton) from Arkansas.

The researchers — Steve Layman at Geosyntec Consultants in Kennesaw, Georgia and Rick Mayden at Saint Louis University in Missouri — say they named the species after leaders they believe demonstrated environmental leadership and commitment.

the Spangled Darter (Etheostoma obama) from Tennessee
Distribution of nine darter species in the subgenus Doration, including five new species of darters named after U.S. presidents and vice president (Etheostoma obama, E. gore, E. teddyroosevelt, E. jimmycarter, and E. clinton).

CITATION: Steven Layman and Richard Mayden. 2012. Morphological diversity and phylogenetics of the darter subgenus Doration (Percidae: Etheostoma), with descriptions of five new species. Bulletin of the Alabama Museum of Natural History Number 30:1-83.

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