New Orinoco fish named after Enya

Practical Fishkeeping (UK) - - Fishkeeping News -

In 1988, Ir­ish singer and song­writer Enya (pic­tured left) re­leased a sin­gle called ‘Orinoco Flow’ from her sec­ond stu­dio al­bum, which went on to be­come an in­ter­na­tional hit and earn a Grammy Award nom­i­na­tion. Now sci­en­tists have named a new species of fish from the Orinoco River drainage after her.

Le­por­i­nus enyae is a “beau­ti­ful lit­tle fish,” says Michael Burns, a doc­toral can­di­date at Ore­gon State Univer­sity and lead author on the pa­per de­scrib­ing the new species.

“When­ever we were in the lab at Ore­gon State work­ing on the fishes, Ben Frable would al­ways play ‘Orinoco Flow,’” says Burns, re­fer­ring to an­other grad­u­ate stu­dent in the lab.

“I heard the song so of­ten in the lab it got stuck in my head,” co-author Mar­cus Chat­field adds. “Then I just started lis­ten­ing to it on pur­pose when I was tak­ing mea­sure­ments of the spec­i­mens. When the time came around for choos­ing names, it just felt right to name this new beau­ti­ful fish from the Orinoco after the artist who wrote that beau­ti­ful song.”

Le­por­i­nus is the largest and most di­verse genus in the characi­form fam­ily Anos­to­mi­dae and in­cludes roughly 90 species across most of South Amer­ica.

The term Le­por­i­nus lit­er­ally means ‘lit­tle hare,’ in ref­er­ence to the large teeth that pro­trude from the mouth, much like those of a rab­bit. The bot­tom teeth of the new species are par­tic­u­larly long, and while no one is sure why, the re­searchers note that it may re­late to it for­ag­ing on plants, worms and other in­ver­te­brates.

Le­por­i­nus enyae is found in the Orinoco River drainage.

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