Newly Discovered Crustacean Species Named After Metallica
"You just never know what you'll find 'lurking beneath the sea'"
Published Feb 27, 2020Like Pink Floyd and Between the Buried and Me before them, Metallica have had a newly discovered sea creature named in their honour.
Today the band revealed that a previously unknown species of deep-sea crustacean discovered in the northern Pacific Ocean had been named "Macrostylis metallicola."
The worm-like creature, which has no eyes and is colourless, was discovered by Dr. Torben Riehl and Dr. Bart De Smet from Ghent University in Belgium.
Macrostylis metallicola grows up to 6.5 mm long and lives in absolute darkness, having adapted to depths of 4,132–5,055 metres and over 400 times the pressure of Earth's atmosphere.
As Metallica pointed out in sharing the news, the crustacean "also lives amongst metallic nodules containing cobalt, copper, manganese, nickel, and rare-earth elements. So it basically lives in a rock stadium? Now that's one metal crustacean!"
Of the creature's new name, Riehl explained: "The scientific Latin suffix '-cola' translates into 'inhabiting' and hence refers to the habitat of the Metallica species. Because of the wealth of resources in this part of the deep seafloor it may soon be mined for minerals needed to meet the growing demand for raw materials."
Riehl added that the name was chosen as a way to both honour a band important to him and raise environmental awareness.
"The continuously rising demand for metals due to population growth, urbanization and clean-energy technology leads to resource exploration and exploitation even in, until now, scientifically unknown and hard-to-reach parts of this world, such as the deep sea," he said. "Very few people are aware that the vast and largely unexplored depths of the oceans harbor bizarre and undiscovered creatures — much like our new Metallica crustacean.
"These species are part of the Earth system on which we all depend. The deep sea plays a role in this system being linked to the climate as well as the food webs of the oceans. Even if we cannot stop mining from happening, we have to make sure that manganese-nodule exploitation will be conducted in a sustainable manner by implementing proper management plans and protected areas designed to conserve biodiversity and ecosystem functioning."
While Metallica shared an illustration of Macrostylis metallicola that wouldn't look out of place on a merch item, you can find some microscopic views of the creature here.