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What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

When Alvin pilot Bruce Strickrott captured a specimen of a worm-like hagfish during a dive in the depths of the Pacific in March 2005, he recalled thinking it was “cool...but in a hideous sort of way.”  About a year later, he learned scientists wanted to name it in honor of him. In a recent issue of the journal Biological Bulletin announcing the discovery of the new species, biologists formally named it Eptatretus strickrotti. Strickrott has taken good-natured ribbing about his namesake fish from “individuals who argue that the characteristics of a hagfish seem to match the persona of some Alvin pilots," he said. "Slimy bottom dweller—how fitting.” (Illustration by Karen Jacobsen, In Situ Science Illustration. Photo by Peter Moller, University of Copenhagen, from Moller, P.R., and W. J. Jones. 2007. Biological Bulletin 212: 40-54. Reproduced with permission from Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass.)


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