A small maroon and gold fish species was discovered 300 feet deep in the waters off Kure Atoll in the Pacific ocean and scientists have named it after the US President Barack Obama.

The fish was named in honour of Obama for his dedication to protecting nature through the expansion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument.

The fish, of the genus Tosanoides, was discovered in June this year during a research trip to Kure and it’s the world’s northernmost atoll.

Atolls ring-shaped reef, island, or chain of islands formed of corals.

This fish is found only within the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument. It’s a World Heritage site which encompasses 1,510,000 square kilometres of ocean waters and also includes atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and ten islands.

Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument is the largest swath of protected water or land on Earth. It is a home to millions of endangered monk seals, seabirds, endangered turtles, and more than 7,000 other species.

A marine biologist at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, Richard Pyle was underwater when he first saw a group of fish he did not recognise. He collected a male specimen for further analysis. The specimen of a female was collected after few days by Bishop Museum affiliate Brian Greene.

The fish represented a new species and the first member of the genus Tosanoides was found outside of the waters off Japan.

This fish is not a first one to be named after Obama, in 2012, a species of darters found only in the Duck River and the Buffalo River in the US was also named after Barack Obama – It was naked Etheostoma.

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5 Sep 2016
Avni S. Singh

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