Although the new crayfish species has probably been sold along with its motley relatives under another name for decades, the scientists figured that it is in fact easily distinguishable by its shape of body and colouration.
German researcher Christian Lukhaup and his colleagues, who gave the name to the new crayfish species, clearly wrote in the study.
Lukhaup’s decision arose from his desire to honor Snowden whom he describes as an American freedom fighter, worthy of respect for his extraordinary achievements in defense of justice, and freedom.
The Cherax snowden hails from the freshwater tributary creeks of West Papua, Indonesia.
“I think it’s one of the most attractive crayfish”, Lukhaup told The Washington Post of that discovery. Through this step, the researchers wanted to show that Snowden has something very special.
There is no word yet on whether Cherax snowden will flee the United States for political asylum like their human namesake.
In all seriousness, the new species of Indonesian crayfish (a close neighbor to today’s other featured animal) is, indeed, named for the famous (or infamous, if you are so inclined) American hacker, Edward Snowden.
Snowden crayfish are harvested for the global aquarium trade (where it’s known commercially as “orange tip” or “green orange tip”), as well as feeding the local population.
Edward Snowden is now living in Moscow even though nearly 168.000 people have signed a petition to allow him to return, but the White House rejected the petition. When noting the species’ population, collectors also said that there has been a decline in recent years.
However, the Germany researcher said the crayfish and Snowden were similar in that the crayfish lived under rocks to hide from its enemies while it hunts at night and protected by its shell.
Collecting them for the aquarium is not a sustainable practice, they warn, and if the popularity of the species continues, they may need a conservation management plan to help it survive.