No fish story: There’s a fish named Obama. Actually, there are two … – Los Angeles Times
When President Obama leaves office, part of his legacy will swim on. In a remote and almost inaccessible national monument about 1,300 miles from Honolulu, a recently discovered species of fish was named for the 44th president: Tosanoides obama.
Scientists described the new yellow and pink species as a coral reef fish, according to a research paper published in December. It was first spotted during a government expedition last June to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, a vast expanse of sea dotted by small spits of land in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Among the islets is Midway Atoll, site of an epic World War II battle.
Oceanographer Sylvia Earle presented Obama with a photo of the new fish last August when he visited the national monument, which during his tenure he expanded, making it larger than Texas, California and Montana combined.
Travel agent Mark Grantham of Galapagos Travel in Aptos, Calif., told me Papahanaumokuakea is the “most magical wildlife place” he has ever seen. He operated excursions to the remote archipelago, a bird lover’s paradise, until cuts in government funding eliminated tourism to the atolls.
This isn’t the first fish named for Obama.
In 2012, new species of freshwater fish found in creeks in five Eastern states were discovered. The rare colorful “darters” were quickly named for Obama, former presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as former Vice President Al Gore, Scientific American reported. All were cited by scientists as champions of the environment.
Earle and Obama will be featured in “A Sea of Hope: America’s Underwater Treasures” premiering Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.