SOUTHEAST ASIA — It’s not every day scientists are lucky enough to stumble upon new species, but when they do, naming them is a huge part of the fun.
The past year saw the exit of music legend David Bowie, but a slithery serpent with his likeness has since been discovered and introduced to the world, an homage of sorts. Named after its rainbowy resemblance to the rock icon’s alter ego, the Ziggy Stardust snake was discovered sitting on a mossy rock by a team of scientists in Laos.
Also among the new species met by the world is a tiny amphibian discovered in Thailand, fondly named the Klingon newt. Its features strikingly similar to those of the alien race of the Star Trek universe, the Klingon newt is roughly 6-7 cm in length.
In the mountainous regions of southwestern India, researchers found an especially odd-shaped arachnid crawling around. Though it got its name for having a body shape reminiscent of the sorting hat in Harry Potter, the Eriovixia gryffindori spider is actually trying to mimic dry foliage, in order to hide from predators.
Finally, as President Obama steps out of the White House, a fish discovered near his home state will carry on his fine name. The Tosanoides obama Pyle was discovered near the northwest Hawaiian islands. When the president decided to expand the boundaries of protected waters in the region, the scientists involved felt it was only fitting to honor the man responsible for keeping the fish — along with countless other marine species — safe.The fish has a circular red spot ringed with blue on its dorsal fin, which looks an awful lot like the president’s campaign logo, a touch researchers say factored into the final naming decision.